Tamale Pie is delicious! I’d never heard of it until I discovered it in Elizabeth Gordon’s The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook. Apparently it’s a Depression-era dish that’s considered a comfort food in the Southwestern United States. It’s warm, filling, serves a bunch of hungry people (or can be used over several nights), and is conveniently gluten-free. It’s also an awesome and economical dish for those that do eat gluten and just want to try something different from a traditional Shepherd’s Pie.
- 4 1/2c water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2c quick-cooking polenta (fine cornmeal)
- 350-450g beef mince (ground beef)
- Or: turkey, chicken.
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
- 400g tin of black beans (rinsed and drained)
- Or, red kidney beans.
- Or, a 400g serve of flavourful beans.
- 350-450g jar mild salsa
- 1c grated cheese
- Use Daiya vegan cheese if you need to be soy & dairy free.
- Optional: 2nd jar of: salsa, or tomato passata, or basic tomato pasta sauce.
- Optional: grated carrot, grated zucchini, finely sliced celery.
- Optional: finely chopped ham or bacon.
Allergies: soy free, gluten free, dairy free*, egg free, nut free.
Note: You’ll see that there are a number of optional ingredients. Personally, I like to add in the extra vegetables so that I have a one dish meal. I also like to add in the extra tomato for flavour (you’ll need to spend more time simmering the mince in order to reduce the extra liquid). The cheese on top helps to flavour the polenta (and is just plain yum); Daiya is apparently affordable in the USA as an allergy-free vegan cheese but it very expensive in New Zealand. If you can’t use cheese, consider adding some light spices to the polenta that is going on top.
- Preheat the oven to 180’C.
- Bring the water and salt to the boil in a large pot. When the water is boiling, slowly stir the polenta in and keep stirring to prevent clumping. Stir until smooth and then turn heat to low; cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove the polenta from pot and spread half over the bottom of your pie plate or casserole dish.
- Heat up your frying pan (or electric wok in my case) and brown your mince; break it up as it cooks. Stir in the cumin, chipotle, and a pinch of salt.
- Add the beans + salsa. Also add any additional salsa/pasta sauce and vegetables that you are choosing to use.
- Continue cooking over a medium heat.If you are using a minimum of ingredients, you only need to cook until the edges start to bubble.
- If you have added extra liquid and vegetables then, once the mix has started to bubble, reduce to a low-medium heat until the liquid has reduced and vegetables have started to soften.
- Pour the meat mixture on top of the polenta.
- Spread the remaining polenta on top. Sprinkle with cheese (if using).
- Cook for 20-25 mins at 180’C.
- Remove the pie from oven and let it cool for 10-15 mins before serving.
- Store lefovers, covered and refridgerated, for up to 3 days.