Friday, September 17, 2010

Polenta Tamale Pie with Sides

I'm listing this recipe under Mexican cuisine, but I'm guessing this has never been made in Mexico. :) I have a feeling this recipe is an old classic and I will be one of the few that has never even heard of it. Anyway, I think this recipe is very clever. I recommend this meal if you are in a hurry and, even though I haven't tried it, I am pretty sure it would hold beautifully in the fridge until the following day. An added bonus is that I was able to use more green peppers and tomatoes. I changed the recipe a bit, so click here if you want the original recipe.

Polenta Tamale Pie Recipe:
Serving size = 5

  • 1lb of ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin (maybe more, taste and check)
  • S/P
  • 1 - 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 small green peppers, or one large one, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Making Polenta

  • 1 cup of polenta
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Pinch of salt

Let the polenta cool
Add the tomatoes and green peppers
Place in the oven

  1. Start with making the polenta. Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot, slowly pour in the polenta and stir. Turn down to simmer, stir often. Be careful, it will pop all over the place. After 30 minutes it should be pretty thick. Pour the polenta into a buttered bowl and let it cool.
  2. Brown the beef in a pan, then add the tomatoes, green peppers and spices.
  3. Once the peppers and tomatoes have cooked down a bit, add the cilantro, stir and pour the meat mixture into a large baking dish (13x9x2). Layer on the cheese, then "crumble" the polenta on top. Bake in the oven at 350F until the sauce is bubbling.

To make this meal a little more interesting, I went ahead and added some sides.

  1. Chop a head of lettuce, place into a bowl. In a separate bowl add the juice of 1 lime and some oil (3:1), pour over the lettuce and toss. Done!
  2. Chop 3 small ripe tomatoes and 1-2 spring onions and place into a bowl. Add a tablespoon or so of chopped fresh cilantro. Done!
  3. Sour cream is a necessity with any Mexican dish. 1 cup of sour cream, 2 teaspoons of cumin (to taste), and 1/2 lime juiced. Mix. Done! 

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Ashley N. said...

It looks so yummy!

carla said...

This reminds me of a tamale restaurant in Ft. Worth. They had all kinds of non-traditional tamales. My favorites were the corn and the mushroom.

I'm going to try this one. Thanks.

Elsa said...

I think this would be delicious with mushrooms and corn! I'll have to give it a shot.

Tom Windwllow said...

I love grits on anything. My great aunt used to make tamale pie with jalapeno cheese grits baked on top She used shredded beef instead of ground beef. Good adaptation of an age old delta recipe.

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