William Hardwick's Tamale Pie--straight from the oven.
While I was out West this fall I picked up an old mimeographed cookbook in Mesa Verde with the straightforward title, Authentic Indian Mexican recipes. It was written by William Hardwick in 1951. Hardwick was a photographer and anthropologist who lived in the Rio Grande Valley for many years. He complied these recipes, including the close to amazing Tamale Pie described here, during his stay.
I cooked this (spicy) tamale pie this week and really liked it. It serves 8 robust portions and freezes well. To begin, you'll need a large skillet, a medium sauce pan for making corn meal mush, and a 3 quart casserole dish.
1 large onion, diced
2 lbs. ground meat--your choice
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
3 cups chopped tomatoes
¼ cup ketchup
1 cup chopped and pitted olives
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup corn meal
1 cup cold water
3 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1 cup grated cheese
Brown the ground meat (pork, hamburger, turkey--your choice) in a large skillet and add the ingredients listed in Part 1 as soon as the meat begins to brown. Simmer for about 30 minutes, drain the fat, and set aside. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
Mix the corn meal in the cup of cold water; stir until thoroughly mixed, then add to 3 cups of boiling water. Add the salt and chili powder and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir continually.
When the corn meal is cooked pour about 2/3rds of the mixture on to the bottom of a greased 3 quart casserole. Pour the meat meat mixture on top of the corn meal mush. Add the remaining corn meal and spread evenly over the meat mixture. Cover the mush top with the grated cheese. Place the layered casserole on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Let the pie rest for about 20 minutes before serving. This is a pretty dish and, accompanied by a salad, makes a complete dinner. Enjoy!