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.
Mince the garlic.
Chop the onion.
Toss the tomatoes, garlic and onion with the oil and salt, spread them on a baking sheet, then roast them.
While that’s in the oven, get the other ingredients ready.
Drain the black beans.
Drain the pinto beans too.
Get the frozen corn.
Chop the zucchini into 1/2″ cubes.
No fresh cilantro? Use this instead.
Take this time to grate the cheese too.
After the tomato mixture has roasted for 40 minutes it looks like this.
I added the chili powder to the reserved tomato juice.
Added the chipotle chile in adobo sauce too.
Get the roasted vegetables in there.
Blended until chunky.
I added the oregano to this mixture.
Combine the processed vegetables to the beans, corn and zucchini.
Top all that with the grated cheese.
Now make the cornmeal topping.
Add the cornmeal to boiling water.
Whisk until thickened.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook another 30 minutes.
Vegetarian Tamale Pie.
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.
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
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.