Tamale Pie

YOU’RE WELCOME, readers. Because sometimes I have to give you permission to take some shortcuts to make what is a truly awesome meal. Because yeah, I buy cans of stuff and pour it into a pan sometimes.

Now, if you don’t want to roast chiles you can buy the canned variety, but trust me: roasting chiles is easy and makes for a far more delicious, subtle flavor (as well as avoiding the leathery texture of the canned ones). You can roast the chiles a day or two in advance and keep them in the fridge on a plate covered with a dishtowel. You can also make the entire pie up to the point where you spread the crust on the top, then refrigerate under plastic wrap, to cook up to 24 hours later.

I served this with a simple side of fresh green beans, boiled to tenderness then tossed with butter.

3 large poblano / pasilla chiles
1 lb. lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, sliced finely
2 cups (16 ounces) red enchilada sauce
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 cup whole black olives, halved
1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups fine to medium cornmeal
2 cups water
1 can (12 fl. ounces) evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (you may also use oaxaca or a variation of jack)

To roast the chiles, wash them and put them side by side in a pie pan, glass oven dish, or a stone. Put them in a 400 degree oven and roast them, turning every now and then, until they are completely blistered (wait for it!). Remove them from the oven and place a clean towel over the stone. After they’ve cooled a bit, peel them (this should be easy or you did not roast them enough), de-stem and de-seed them, and dice the flesh (which should be tender and soft or you roasted them too much!). Set aside.

Saute the beef and garlic in a large skillet until beef is browned. Drain, then add the enchilada sauce, corn, olives, salt, and chiles. Mix and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Combine the cornmeal, water, evaporated milk, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Stirring frequently, heat until thickened, about five minutes. Spread about 2/3 of the mixture along the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake in the oven 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then spread first the beef filling, then the remainer of the cornmeal mixture on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake until melted and golden, about five minutes.

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