I’ve been wanting to recreate my favorite Mexican Tamale Pie since about the moment I began sharing recipes on Lemony Thyme. Which also happens to be when I realized that the most important part of cooking isn’t the recipe, it’s the ingredients.
Having said that, while we primarily cook with fresh ingredients, there are certain pantry staples I make no apologies for, those being canned tomatoes and canned beans. We keep canned on hand for when we’re in a hurry or when we may have bitten off more than our culinary skills can chew. As in the night I signed up to make Mexican Tamale Pie, Apache Bread Dip, and Jicama Slaw for our Taste of Arizona party at the office the following day.
I was pleasantly surprised how easily this recipe came together. For the filling, heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot, sauté onion for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic and zucchini and sauté for an additional 4-5 minutes. The veggies should still be crisp tender. Add remaining filling ingredients, stir to combine. The juice from the diced tomatoes should be enough simmering liquid, if not add a little water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer veggie mixture to a casserole dish.
Recipe Note: Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce bring a wonderful smoky flavor, but they are pretty spicy. I used the entire can in this recipe, giving it quite a kick, in a good way.
However, if you prefer a milder Tamale Pie, I would begin with one pepper then add additional to taste. You can freeze any unused peppers for future use.
Meanwhile, prepare the polenta topping. In a 3 quart saucepan bring water and salt to boil. Slowly whisk in cornmeal and cook over low heat, stirring often until the cornmeal is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter to finish. Spoon polenta over veggie mixture, then use a rubber spatula to smooth almost to the edges.
Mexican Tamale Pie is baked for about 30 minutes until the filling is hot and bubbly. I finished it under the broiler for just a few minutes to give the topping a golden finish. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
This vegetarian, gluten free dish is a wonderful meatless meal. However, I’m willing to bet no one will miss the meat once they get a bite of all that flavor wow.
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I wanted to recreate my favorite Mexican Tamale Pie. Well here she is. Amy’s Organic Tamale Pie was first introduced to me at a Weight Watchers Meeting because it’s naturally low fat and calorically friendly. I searched my local grocer’s freezer case with no luck, but that didn’t stop me. A few markets later I found this quick and easy frozen meal, which became a lunch time staple.
I have to say I’m quite pleased with my recipe adaptation. This dish could easily be a meal for 8-10 people. I served it as part of a Taste of Arizona party at the office. Check out our spread below.
Mexican Tamale Pie
For the pie filling…
- 1 Tbl. olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 small zucchini diced
- 1 4.5- ounce can diced mild chiles
- 1 7- ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce use as little as one pepper for mild or entire can for hot
- 1 14.5- ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes with juice
- 1 16- ounce can pinto beans rinsed and drained
- 1 16- ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro rough chopped
- salt to taste
For the polenta topping…
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup yellow grits
- 1 Tbl. butter
For the filling…
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot, sauté onion for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic and zucchini and sauté for an additional 4-5 minutes. They should still be crisp tender.
- Add remaining filling ingredients, stir to combine. The juice from the diced tomatoes should be enough simmering liquid, if not add a little water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer veggie mixture to a casserole dish.
For the polenta topping…
- In a 3 quart saucepan bring water and salt to boil. Slowly whisk in grits and cook over low heat, stirring often until the cornmeal is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter to finish. Spoon polenta over veggie mixture, then use a rubber spatula to spread almost to the edges.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place casserole on a shallow baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Can finish under broiler for a golden top. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
Yesterday my work family and I threw a surprise Taste of Arizona party for a dear co-worker who is relocating to Arizona next week. We sure are going to miss you Major JP. I’ve said before and will say again, I work with some amazing cooks and darn good eaters!! I’m compiling all of these tasty recipes and hope to share each of them with you.