I think I may have been making beef tamale pies since I could barely look above the kitchen counter as a young child. The early recipe from my mom was a tad light on the spices that I eventually grew to love as I got older. Now, I have fun playing with different spices and ingredients, which makes
writing down typing out the recipe difficult. The mainstay is always ground beef, some type of tomato, chili or pepper and corn bread, either home-made or in a box if I’m feeling lazy. Sometimes I’ll use more smoked paprika if I want to enjoy a smoky taste to the dish. Other times, I’ll use an ancho chili or add some chipotle sauce. If I have red or green bell peppers or black beans, I sometimes like to add those as well.
The recipe below is the one I tend to make most often, probably because it includes the things I regularly have on hand. To spice up the corn bread on top and give some texture, I usually like to add some finely diced jalapeno and corn. The fun is to experiment yourself and try adding different flavors.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 poblano pepper, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 + 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped and seeds removed
- 3/4 can (12-ounces) + 1/4 can (4 ounces) corn
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 plum tomato, diced
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika, or to taste
- a dash crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- a dash of fresh ground pepper
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 box dry corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 400° F. In the meantime, season ground beef with salt and pepper and brown in a dutch oven (can also use a cast-iron skillet) on medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Once browned, reduce heat to medium, add onions, poblano pepper and jalapeno. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to simmer and add tomato sauce, diced tomato, 3/4 can corn, chili powder, smoked paprika and crushed red peppers. Cook until liquid has been reduced, about 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix corn muffin mix with egg, milk, 1/2 jalapeno and 1/4 can corn. Spread the corn bread mixture over the meat and place in oven. Bake until corn bread is light brown, about 15-20 minutes.