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Tamale Pie

(recipe, Katie Hickey)


This recipe is a combination of Serious Eats and America's Test Kitchen. It can take a lot of variation and makes great leftovers.


  1. Olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  4. 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped OR 1 can green chilies
  5. 2 tsp. cumin
  6. 1 tsp. chili powder
  7. 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  8. ¼ tsp. cayenne
  9. Salt
  10. Pepper
  11. 4 to 6 oz. frozen or defrosted corn kernels (about half a package)
  12. 1 lb. cooked shredded pork shoulder (2 cups packed) OR 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  13. 1 can beans (black or red kidney or pinto)
  14. 1 cup stock
  15. ⅓ cup sliced black olives
  16. (optional- ¼ cup raisins)
  17. ¾ cup flour
  18. ¾ cup yellow cornmeal
  19. 1 tsp. baking powder
  20. ¾ tsp. chili powder
  21. ¾ cup buttermilk
  22. 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  23. 1 large egg
  24. 1 Tbsp. honey
  25. ½ cup coarsely grated pepper jack or cheddar cheese
  26. Sour cream or yogurt and cilantro to serve, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a little olive oil or PAM in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If you do not have an ovenproof skillet, you can prepare the filling in whatever you have and then transfer it to a 3 quart baking dish before topping with cornbread batter and baking.) When the oil is hot, add the ground meat (if raw) and cook until no longer pink. Then add onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook until soft and beginning to brown. Then stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. After about a minute, stir in the corn kernels (if frozen).
  2. When the corn kernels are no longer frozen, add the pork (if not using raw meat), beans, canned chilies, olives and raisins (if using) to the skillet and stir until well combined. Then pour in the bean cooking liquid or stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is mostly reduced and then turn off the heat. Stir in the ½ cup of cheese until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  3. Meanwhile, have someone make the cornbread topping. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, chili powder, and ¾ teaspoon salt in a large bowl to blend. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, egg, and honey. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until blended.
  4. Drop the cornbread batter in large spoonfuls over the top of the filling and then spread it evenly to cover the filling completely.
  5. Bake until cornbread topping is deep golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot with sour cream or yogurt and cilantro for garnishes, if you like.
  6. You can make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate. To bake, pour filling into a greased 3 quart baking dish and top with the cornbread mix. Bake as directed.