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Mouthwatering Tamale Pie

Besides the Alamo and bullwhips, I'd say this recipe does a pretty good job representing Texan culture as a whole. It ticks all the boxes: blazingly hot, semi Mexican origins, and drenched in cornmeal.

Tamale Pie

Tamale Two Ways

You have two options as to how to cook your tamale pie. There's the casserole dish method, and there's the oven-safe skillet method.

According to qualified, experienced chefs, a casserole dish provides better structure; as in, its dimensions yields each serving to have an optimal ratio of filling-to-topping. This assertion makes me angry, because it's wrong.

The obvious choice is the skillet method. First of all, you only need one cooking thing instead of two, meaning less prep time and less cleaning. Secondly, the cast iron of a skillet allows for better conduction while your pie is baking, allowing the heat to run all throughout the dish.

Finally, skillet-bakes look cool.

Texas Tamale Pie

Prep: 15 min | Cooking: 50 min | Total: 1 hr 5 min

Serves 6


  • Olive oil (1 tbsp)

  • Onions, minced (1 cup or 1/2 of a sweet onion)

  • Poblano pepper, chopped (1 pepper)

  • Ground beef (1 pound)

  • Tomato paste (2 tbsp)

  • Diced tomatoes, drained (one 14.5-oz. can)

  • Frozen corn (3/4 cup)

  • Chili powder (1 tsp)

  • Garlic powder (1 tsp)

  • Cayenne (1 tsp)

  • Salt (1/2 tsp)

  • Mexican blend shredded cheese (1 cup, divided)

  • Egg (1)

  • Milk (1/3 cup)

  • Corn muffin mix (one 8.5-oz. box)


  1. Heat oil in a deep, medium-size oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat. Fry up the onions and peppers for 4 minutes, then add the ground beef. Cook, stirring and chopping the meat up with your spatula, until browned through.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 °F.

  3. Mix in the tomato paste, then add diced tomatoes, frozen corn, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt. Simmer and stir for about 5 minutes to let the flavors mix. Remove from heat and sprinkle in 1/2 cup of the cheese.

  4. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and milk. Mix in the corn muffin mix until fully incorporated. Pour the batter over the skillet to cover the meat-veggie mixture. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese (1/2 cup).

  5. Place in oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until cheese on top is golden brown. Dish and serve. (Caution: the pie is deceivingly hot.)

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