Monday, March 05, 2012

Grits-Crusted Tamale Pie

This recipe is from the late Bert Green's Green on Grains.  It is a wonderful and eclectic collection of all sorts of recipes using various kinds of grains ranging from Amaranth to Quinoa.  Today I tried this particular recipe for the first time and it was so good and easy, that I am posting it here.  Enjoy!

For the filling:

2 T vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 medium green peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 T. tomato paste
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup sliced Spanish Olives
1 T ground cumin
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. chili powder
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 T yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup water, if needed
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the topping:

3 1/2 cups of water
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup stone ground grits
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 can (4 ounces) mild or regular green chiles, chopped

1.  Make the filling:  Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat.  Add onion and cook about 1 minute.  Add garlic and bell peppers and cook 5 minutes.  Crumble in the beef and cook over medium heat until the meat loses its pink color, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients through the corn meal and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes.  Add the water if the mixture is too dry.  Season with salt and pepper and spoon into a shallow 2 1/2 quart casserole.  (You can make this ahead, refrigerate and then bring to room temp or reheat.)

2. Preheat oven to 400 F.

3.  Make the topping:  Combine the water and salt in a medium size heavy sauce pan and bring to boiling.  Reduce the heat and stir in the grits and cook until very thick, stirring continuously (think polenta) for about 12 minutes.  Stir in the butter and remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients and spoon the mixture over the filling.

4.  Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake about 30 minutes more or until topping seems "set-up".  Let stand 5 or so minutes before serving.

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