A Pie of a Tamale

As best I can understand it, a tamale pie is tamales without all the work.

Anyway, the gist of the recipe is ground beef, seasonings and a cornbread top. At least that’s the way I’ve always made mine.

You can play with the heat here as much as you like without doing any real damage either way. I find the canned chiles to be fairly mild so I do recommend some fresh jalapeños if you want to kick up the heat.

My recipe seems about par for the course, but I have more “stuff” than most I think.


  • 1 lb ground round
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 sweet pepper (any color), diced
  • 2 lg cloves garlic, micro-planed
  • 1  4 oz can green chiles, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeds removed if desired, and finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP adobo sauce
  • 2 TBSP good quality chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 15 oz can of any type beans you like, rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 recipe for cornbread ( see note) 


  1. Brown meat with onions and the chiles.
  2. Add the spices and mix in and simmer for about 10 minutes until done.
  3. Add the beans, tomatoes and corn. Stir and heat through.
  4. Make the cornbread.
  5. Place the meat mixture into a baking dish. a 10 x 6 is great.
  6. Spread with the cornbread mixture.
  7. Place in a 425° oven for about 25 minutes.
  8. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese of your choice.

Serves: 6-8

NOTE: You can substitute masa harina for the cornmeal. Also you can add chiles to the batter and shredded cheese as well. I prefer my cheese as a condiment. I would also suggest that you can make about 2/3 of a cornbread recipe. It makes for a bit thinner top and doesn’t overwhelm the meat so much. But it’s up to you!


One thought on “A Pie of a Tamale

  1. Pingback: Tamale Shepherd’s Pie | The Hearty Herbivore

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