Vegetarian Tamale Pie

Eating vegetarian meals once in a while is another way to lower your food costs.

Along with the other benefits realized by reducing the amount of meat in our diets (fewer calories consumed, more fiber and vitamins in our diets and less cruelty to animals are a few good reasons), meat is more expensive than vegetables, beans and grains. Many people have decided to have ‘Meatless Mondays’ when they go the whole day without eating any meat.

This dish makes such a lot of food, you could probably stretch this to a Meatless Tuesday and Wednesday too. I’ve never had a tamale pie either with or without meat, so I don’t know if the frequently used quote “you won’t miss the meat” holds true for this dish, but it certainly was tasty.

Start by draining the tomatoes.

Drain the tomatoes.

Drain the tomatoes.

Mince the garlic.

Minced garlic.

Minced garlic.

Chop the onion.

Chopped onions.

Chopped onions.

Toss the tomatoes, garlic and onion with the oil and salt, spread them on a baking sheet, then roast them.

Tomatoes, garlic and onions.

Tomatoes, garlic and onions.

While that’s in the oven, get the other ingredients ready.

Drain the black beans.

Drained black beans.

Drained black beans.

Drain the pinto beans too.

Drained pinto beans.

Drained pinto beans.

Get the frozen corn.

Frozen corn.

Frozen corn.

Chop the zucchini into 1/2″ cubes.

Chop the zucchini.

Chop the zucchini.

No fresh cilantro? Use this instead.

Cilantro paste.

Cilantro paste.

Take this time to grate the cheese too.

Grated Monterey Jack cheese.

Grated Monterey Jack cheese.

After the tomato mixture has roasted for 40 minutes it looks like this.

Roasted.

Roasted.

I added the chili powder to the reserved tomato juice.

Add the chili powder (a whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Add the chili powder (a whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Added the chipotle chile in adobo sauce too.

Add the chipotle chile in adobo sauce too.

Add the chipotle chile in adobo sauce too.

Get the roasted vegetables in there.

Roasted vegetables added to the reserved tomato juice.

Roasted vegetables added to the reserved tomato juice.

Blended until chunky.

Blend until slightly chunky.

Blend until slightly chunky.

I added the oregano to this mixture.

Add oregano.

Add oregano.

Combine the processed vegetables to the beans, corn and zucchini.

Sauce, beans and vegetables.

Sauce, beans and vegetables.

Top all that with the grated cheese.

Add the grated cheese to the beans and vegetables.

Add the grated cheese to the beans and vegetables.

Now make the cornmeal topping.
Add the cornmeal to boiling water.

Add the cornmeal to boiling water (another whatfoodimade action shot!).

Add the cornmeal to boiling water (another whatfoodimade action shot!).

Whisk until thickened.

Whisk until thickened.

Whisk until thickened.

Spread the cornmeal over the top of the cheese.
DSC00182

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook another 30 minutes.

After 60 minutes.

After 60 minutes.

Serve.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie, served.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie, served.

This recipe is from The Best Mexican Recipes by America’s Test Kitchens.
Buy this book! It’s got lots of great recipes.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie
Serves 6 to 8

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Loaded with beans, vegetables, and cheese and topped with a cornmeal crust, this vegetarian take on tamale pie is rich, hearty, and packed with Mexican flavor. For a deep, boldly flavored sauce, we used the traditional Mexican technique of roasting the main ingredients (canned diced tomatoes, onion, and garlic) until nicely browned and then simply blended them with chipotle chile, chili powder, and lime juice. We combined the sauce with two types of canned beans, corn, zucchini, and fresh cilantro in a baking dish and topped it with a layer of cheese, then a quick cornmeal batter. The pie emerged from the oven with a beautifully browned crust and an ultraflavourful filling.

Ingredients

2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained with 2 cups juice reserved
1 onion, chopped coarse
4 garlic cloves, chopped coarse
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 teaspoons lime juice
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed
1½ cups fresh or thawed frozen corn
1 zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
4 cups water
1½ cups coarse-ground cornmeal

Method

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss tomatoes, onion, garlic, oil, and ½ teaspoon salt together in bowl, then spread onto prepared sheet. Roast vegetables, stirring occasionally, until edges are dark brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove vegetables from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Transfer roasted vegetables and any accumulated juices to blender. Add chipotle, chili powder, lime juice, and reserved tomato juice and process until sauce is slightly chunky, 8 to 10 seconds. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Combine sauce, black beans, pinto beans, corn, zucchini, cilantro, and oregano in 13 by 9-inch baking dish and top evenly with Monterey Jack.

Bring water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Add ¾ teaspoon salt, then slowly pour in cornmeal, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly, until cornmeal begins to soften and mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Off heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread warm cornmeal mixture evenly over casserole with rubber spatula, pushing it to edges of baking dish.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until crust is beginning to brown and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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