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Tamale Pie


Tamale pie is a fairly recent addition to my “favorite meals” list.  How can you go wrong with polenta and seasoned ground meat?

So today’s song is an instrumental, “Bags’ New Groove” by the Paul Desmond and the Modern Jazz Quartet, to celebrate this “newest” addition to my “favorite meals” list!

Tamale Pie



  1. Brown ground sirloin. Drain off any excess grease. Return to stove top over medium heat.
  2. Add dried onion, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper. Stir, cover and simmer for a couple of minutes or until peppers are slightly tender.
  3. Add salsa. Stir and simmer covered for five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Put cornmeal, cold water, and chili powder in a large saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat. Just before it boils, add cheese a small handful at a time, sprinkling over the cornmeal while stirring.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Spray Pam® on a large glass casserole dish at least 18”x13”.
  7. Divide cornmeal mixture in half. Drizzle half of it over the bottom, smoothing to connect and just cover the bottom.
  8. Spoon the meat mixture in dollops over the cornmeal. Do not try to spread. Just try to spoon it into a layer.
  9. Put remaining half of cornmeal mixture over low burner and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir until melted and remove from heat.
  10. Spoon dollops over the meat mixture. Do not connect them.
  11. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly.
  12. The first time you serve this dish, it will need to be scooped out. After it has cooled, cut into serving portions and store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. The cornmeal layers will be firmer when you eat the leftovers. Microwave on low power just until warm.

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About Jillaine: As a professional jazz singer who also studies law, savoring daily nosh with family refreshes me. You are invited to my table to try great food, hear tasty music, and join in upbeat conversation!

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