Monday, February 10, 2014

2 Bean Tamale Pie

There is nothing fancy about this dinner. At all. I created a version of this recipe back in college based on a "boxed meal" my mom gave to me to use in a pinch.  I used it, loved it, and tried to recreate it.  After quite a few years and several tweaks, this is now a family favorite.  I love that you can use tomato paste to make a low sodium tomato juice, as that was the one ingredient I never had on hand regularly, and my husband is sensitive to salt.  As always, using raw ingredients is best, but many a time have I been short on the clock and used the powdered alternatives and hardly known the difference.

2 Bean Tamale Pie  
Serves 4-6
Active time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serving suggestions: Spanish or Wild rice with a side of steamed broccoli or a green salad.

What you'll need:
  • A little canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion OR 1/2 TBLS onion powder
  • 2 tsp minced garlic OR 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 deseeded and diced bell pepper   Any color will do.  OR use 3/4 cup of the jarred variety
  • 1 can kidney beans - rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans - rinsed and drained OR black, great northern, or other bean
  • 1 can corn - rinsed and drained OR 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 TBLS tomato paste + 1/2 cup water OR 6 oz can (2/3 c) vegetable juice (freeze remaining juice for later use)
  • 4 oz can chopped green chiles (found in the Mexican aisle)
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBLS packed brown sugar (opt)
  • 1 pkg Jiffy cornbread mix (you'll need an egg and some milk with this.) OR half a recipe of the Old Fashioned Skillet Cornbread
  • sour cream (opt) for topping

What you'll do:
  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Grease a 2QT baking dish (an 8x8 works best) and set aside
  • In a skillet, heat oil and saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper until tender.  About 5 minutes.
  • Slightly mash the beans and add to skillet along with the corn.
  • Mix the paste and water together to create low sodium tomato juice without the cost!
  • Add the tomato juice, green chiles, spices and sugar to the skillet and heat through.
  • Spoon everything from the skillet into the greased baking dish
  • In a small bowl, make the cornbread batter according to the directions
  • Spread cornbread batter evenly on top of the bean mixture but do not mix in
  • Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and cornbread is done in the middle (toothpick test)
Variation: If you're using powdered garlic and onion, you can mix everything in a bowl and skip the skillet all together.  The peppers may just be a little more on the crunchy side (or make sure to use the jarred kind in this situation).

Serve with some sour cream on top if desired.

TO MAKE VEGAN:  use a flax seed egg (1 T milled flaxseed + 3 T warm water, stirred w/ a fork & soaked for 5 min) in the cornbread and use a non-dairy milk product.

Time tip: In a pinch, I’ve been known to make 6 cornbread muffins, and while those are baking I just saute everything in a large skillet, simply reducing the tomato/vegetable juice to 1/2 cup so it’s not too watery.  When ready to serve, just spoon the mixture into a bowl and eat with the muffin, or crumple on top!

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