Saturday, September 20, 2014

Making Corn Tamale Pie (Recipe)

Tamale Pie has become one of my favorite go-to recipes for a quick and easy home-cooked meal.  Inspired by a dish served at Oh Happy Days Healthfood Cafe & Market, my adaptation is a great way to enjoy the rich flavor of masa harina, without the labor of preparing traditional tamales.


Ingredients:

Base:

  • 2 cups masa harina 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening or butter  
  • 2 cups stock or water
Topping:
  • 2 cups beans (Or one can -- I usually use black beans)
  • Shoyu to season
  • Cooking oil (sunflower, safflower) 
  • Salsa
Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  In a mixing bowl, combine masa flour, baking powder, and sea salt.  

3.  Cut in shortening or butter.

4.  Add water and stir until dough is formed.  Set aside.


For the topping:  

5.  Cook the beans in a skillet with a bit of oil, and with any other vegetables or seasoning desired.  Splash enough shoyu to taste toward the end of cooking, and stir in as much salsa as desired.

The beans may be cooked with any combination of tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, corn kernels, and seasoned with epazote, cumin, cilantro, lemon -- get creative!  

6.  Spread the masa evenly along the bottom of an oiled cooking pan.  Some recipes place the bean or meat filling on the bottom with the masa cooked on top, but I have found that the casserole holds together much better with the masa cooking at the base.


7.  Spread the bean and vegetable filling evenly upon the top of the masa dough.  If you like, add vegan or dairy cheese and olives on top to melt and cook in the oven.  I like to use Spanish Manzanilla Olives with Pimentos!  Cheese and olives may also be added after, to accommodate different dietary practices.


8.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the masa has risen, is firm, and the edges are crisp and golden.  I like to serve slices of Tamale Pie on a bed of salad, with grated carrots, tomatoes, and fresh sprouts.

For this version, I used Daiya vegan cheese.

Tamale Pie has become a dish that I enjoy preparing at least once a week.  It’s easy to make and leaves plenty of room for creativity.  The balance of the salty, savory, and nourishing whole-grain corn flavor of the crisp, fluffy masa makes this a true vegetarian comfort food!