Nikki's Tamale pie

Nikki's tamale pie

I was super excited to get this request from Nikki.  She asked me to make a recipe for tamale pie, because sometimes time is slim, and making full blown tamales is labor intensive and sometimes you just want them.  The solution is a tamale pie!
Now, When I get requests for a new recipe, I name them after the person who made the request.  So that is why this recipe is officially Nikki's tamale pie.
I had lots of fun making it too.  First of all, I was in the kitchen, and secondly, it was so easy. Honestly, once all the ingredients were together, the longest part was baking.  But, the nice part there, you can do other things (like clean the mess you just made) or other household chores.

Preheat oven to 375°


4c maseca instant masa flour (see illustration)

3.5 cups water
2 8oz. can taco sauce, or tamale sauce (see illustration, use whatever brand or homemade as you like)

4 teaspoons chili powder, divided 
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or you could use 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 cups cooked black beans (canned or fresh) with liquid
1 8oz. package of sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen corn
1 large red bell pepper, washed, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks 
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced small
4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced fine

 To start, put your masa flour into a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle

 Add all the water

 With your hand, mix together.  It will be messy at first, but keep going.  

When the flour and water have combined well, and is like wet playdough, add 2 tsp. of chili powder, lime juice, and 1 can of the taco sauce/tamale sauce.

Now, with your hand again, combine all this with your hand until smooth.

Divide into two, and set aside

Place a large saute pan on the stove, over medium heat.  Allow to heat up for about a minute or so.

Add the onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and the rest of the seasonings (2 tsp. chili powder, chipotle powder, oregano and cumin)

Mix well, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are wilted, and the onions are soft.

 After 10 minutes, add the beans and corn, and mix well

Cook for another minute, and remove from heat, set aside for a few minutes.
Now, lets make the crusts.  In a 9x13 glass pan, take half the masa mix, and press into the bottom.

Add the bean/mushroom filling and spread it out even.  
The easiest way to make the top, is with parchment paper.  You will want to take a sheet and measure it out on top of your pan.  Then place it down on a cutting board, and put the other half of the masa mix on it.  Spread it out to the size of the parchment.

Then, turn it over onto the tamale mix, and peel the paper back.  Spread it to the edges and make it all smooth.

Take the piece of parchment you just used, and cover the top loosely, and place it into your preheated oven.

Bake covered for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, removed carefully from the oven, take the cover off, and pour the other can of sauce on top.  Spread it out.

Place back into the oven, and bake another 25-28 minutes.

 When the time is up, remove from oven.  Let stand for 10 minutes to set.

Cut with a sharp knife, and serve.  I added some avocado and some lime to squeeze on top.  

I hope you give this a try.  It makes quite a bit, so there will be leftovers.  If you are not into spicy food, you can tone it down a bit (don't add the chipotle powder)
The crusts should be moist, and has a great texture (pretty close to an actual tamale rather than corn bread) 

If you don't like mushrooms, you can replace with zucchini or even more beans and corn.  


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