Tamale Pie and Mexican Cole Slaw

Tamale Pie
Tamale Pie

Kurt and I came up with this recipe together. For the last month, I've been developing the recipe so that it is just right. You see, the original prototype was a dream, but I failed to write down the recipe - I was basically just throwing things together in a crazed fit of frazzled, pre-dinner party delirium. When I attempted to make this the second time ... massive failure. The taste was alright, I guess, but I baked it in a deeper dish and the pie just deflated into a pile of brown slop. It was like the turkey scene in Christmas Vacation. Don't worry, we successfully identified the problem. So here it is! I present to you our esteemed Tamale Pie (beta model), along with a recipe for Mexican Cole Slaw.

I wanted a crust like the masa harina dough used in traditional tamales, but I wanted it to be a little crispier to contrast the soft texture of the bean filling. I ended up making a simple corn meal crust. Kurt helped me figure out the filling, which is black beans, adobo chilies, lime juice, cumin, onions and garlic. The trick is to bake this pie in a shallow tart or quiche dish; you only want an inch of bean filling to balance the spiciness with the cheese and cornmeal. The smokey adobo is the key flavor- just chipotle peppers, canned in a smokey hot adobo sauce, found in the Mexican section of the grocery store. Somehow, Kurt is able to eat these straight out of the can. He has a maniac mouth that can handle the hottest of hots.

For the crust:
3/4 cup flour, plus extra for dusting
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes.
few splashes of ice water (about 1/4 cup)

Combine flour, corn meal and salt in a bowl. With a pastry blender or food processor, blend in a few cubes of butter at a time until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, while working the dough with your hands until everything is incorporated. Form a large ball of dough. Sprinkle extra flour on your work surface and gently flatten the dough ball with your hands. Carefully roll out dough into a 10" disk. Press into 9" tart pan, careful to work dough up the sides of the pan, trimming the excess. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees, for 8 minutes.

For the filling:

1 can black beans, drained
1 small yellow onion
2 gloves garlic
2-3 canned chipotle peppers*, packed in adobo sauce

1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp cumin
4 6" corn tortillas
1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
green onions, sliced tomatoes, and sliced sweet peppers to garnish

Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until it resembles a thick paste. Spread evenly into the pie crust and top with 1/2 cup cheese. Arrange tortillas on top of pie, overlapping to shape a clover-leaf pattern. Top with remaining cheese and garnish with tomatoes, peppers, and green onions. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted, golden, and bubbly.

*more or less peppers, depending on your spicy tolerance.

Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie

Mexican Cole Slaw
Mexican Cole Slaw with Tomatillo Dressing

For the Mexican cole slaw with tomatillo dressing:

1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 green onions
3 tomatillos
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Cole slaw:
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
2 shredded carrots
1 small cucumber, julienned

Combine dressing ingredients in food processor and blend. Pour over cabbage, carrots and cucumbers. Toss and season to taste.


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