Our Recipe for Tamale Pie

We’ve had a fun time researching Tamale Pie this week.  Since there were so many different versions to choose from, we decided to combine aspects of many different recipes.  What we created is Bit of Butter’s own rendition of Tamale Pie!  In the end, we really liked our results: the filling was hearty, but very flavorful, and the masa topping was a great accompaniment!

Like many other recipes for Tamale Pie, we decided to combine both ground beef and pork in order to add more flavor (I used 15% fat ground beef).  We were worried that many of the recipes did not season the meat enough for our tastes, so we added cumin and a chipotle chili to season the meat and give it a little bit of a kick.  Since the meat provides most of this dish’s flavor, we want to make sure it was super yummy!

We used masa harina in place of cornmeal because it’s what we had on hand.  It ended up working perfectly as a topping for the Tamale Pie.  Since we had some of the left-over grease from the meat on hand, we decided to use it in the batter instead of butter or oil.

Bit of Butter’s Tamale Pie

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

1 pound ground beef (15% fat or less)

1 pound ground pork

1 yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans diced tomatoes w/ chiles

1 chipotle chili (in adobo), finely diced

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp. salt

1.5 cups masa harina

1/2 cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder two eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 scant tbsp. sugar

1.5 cup of milk

2 eggs

3 tbsp. meat drippings

1 can sliced olives

1/2 cup grated cheese (we were lazy and used the ‘Mexican Blend’ from our local market)

1/4 chopped cilantro

  1. Dice the red pepper and onion and sauté until soft (about 5 min.).
  2. Mince the garlic and add to onions and peppers and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add ground beef and pork to vegetable mixture and cook until browned (about 8 min.).
  4. Drain and save excess fat (we had approx. 3 tbsp.).
  5. Add chopped chipotle, chile powder, cumin, salt, and diced tomatoes and cook on medium for another 20 min. or until juices begin to evaporate.
  6. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. While meat is cooking, mix together masa, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  8. Mix together eggs, milk, and drippings and add to flour mixture.
  9. Stir ingredients together.
  10. When meat is finished, pour into a 10×14 baking dish.  Sprinkle olives and ¼ c. of cheese on top of meat.
  11. Place masa mixture on top of meat, nestling small pieces into the meat mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  12. Cover with foil and bake for 45 min.  (Remove foil half way through.)
  13. Serve hot with chopped cilantro on top!


  1. Reply
    Kate March 6, 2010

    This sounds as though it is a keeper! Yum!

    • Reply
      alison March 7, 2010

      It was a great dish! We had leftovers last night and they were awesome!

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