Now that I think about it, I don't think I've made a tamale pie since then! So, how could I remake this from scratch?On work week nights, I want to get dinner on the table as fast as I can. If there are leftovers that reheat well in the microwave at my office, it's win-win. This recipe fits the bill. Fast. Easy. Good. Man-Pleasing.
I re-read this cookbook, last weekend, and was surprised at how many recipes I've made. I've made their Skillet Chicken Broccoli & Pasta Dinner multiple times. In my book, America's Test Kitchen is up there with Ina Garten when it comes to recipes that are pretty much guaranteed to be good. I saw the Skillet Tamale Pie recipe, and realized that I had one pound of ground beef that I needed to either cook or freeze. Dinner was on!
(I added a couple of tweaks to the recipe, and I will note those in the printable recipe card, at the bottom of this post.)
We begin with chopped onion and chili powder. I added cumin, because I think it's what belongs in Mexican recipes.
The recipe lists chopped tomatoes, drained. I happened to have a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, because I love to add mild green chilis. You need black beans, drained and minced garlic.
Of course, you need ground beef. I'm thinking that turkey could work, too, but I haven't tried that yet. Brown the meat, then add the drained tomatoes and beans. I'm a believer in adding tomato paste to most of my braised or skillet recipes that includes tomatoes. I think it adds more depth of flavor. Whenever I open a can of tomato paste, I freeze portions for later use.
I also decided to add some frozen corn, because black beans + corn = delicious combination. Last, grated cheddar cheese is added and cilantro. Hate cilantro? Really? Then use parsley.
The cornmeal topping is easy to make. You need flour, yellow cornmeal, buttermilk, egg and baking powder and baking soda and melted butter. Once the wet ingredients are whisked and added to the dry ingredients, just spread it evenly over the cooked filling. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and serve.
The downside to daylight savings time is that shooting photos in natural light becomes a very slim margin. The photo is a bit darker than I'd like, but at least you can see that the filling held well.
TASTING NOTES: The prep work for this recipe is very minimal, except for chopping an onion and mincing some garlic. Skillet dinners are perfect for a busy night, because I can clean up my mess while it's cooking/baking. Taste: My favorite part is the cornmeal crust. It's tender, and I think that buttermilk is the key ingredient. I have made some notes for the next time I make this-- I will use my own Mexican Seasoning Blend (recipe card below), and a tablespoon of chopped chipotle peppers to kick it up the heat a lot more. If this is being made for kids, then maybe not. I would add another small can of diced green chilis, too and even more cheddar cheese-- like double. This would be great with a dollop of sour cream. Overall, it's a comforting dish that did reheat, very well, for my lunch at work.