Tamale Pie

Published on
September 22, 2023
This recipe is adored at the VG office. It feeds a crowd, is hearty, and super cheesy. This recipe is also incredibly versatile - make as directed or swap the taco meat for rotisserie chicken, sub salsa verde for the enchilada sauce, use different beans, or sub the beans for diced bell pepper, or opt for all stock instead of milk. The options are endless. Get creative and get cooking!
Tamale Pie in a cast iron pan.
Prep Time:
15 Minutes
Cook Time:
45 Minutes
Difficulty Level:

1 1/2 pounds ground meat or plant based protein

4 tablespoons Texas Red Seasoning

2 cups stock

2 cups milk

1 cup polenta or cornmeal

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated, divided

2 cups red enchilada sauce

2 teaspoons chile in adobo, pureed

1 - 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Optional toppings: cotija cheese, lime crema, hot sauce, avocado slices, tortilla chips


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a deep cast iron skillet or oven safe pan over medium-high heat add the ground meat or plant based protein and the Texas Red seasoning. Stir to combine and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the taco meat to a large bowl. Set aside.

4. In the same skillet over medium heat (no need to clean the pan), stir in the stock and milk. Bring to a simmer and gradually whisk in the polenta. Use a whisk for the first 5 minutes. Then switch to a wooden spoon.

5. Stir frequently for 15-20 minutes or until the polenta is thick. Add in the butter and half of the cheese. Once the cheese has melted remove from the heat.

6. Add the enchilada sauce, chiles in adobo, black beans and tomatoes to the seasoned taco meat.

7. Spread the meat mixture on top of the polenta. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings.

Recipe Tip:
Look for Chiles en Adobo in the taco section of your grocery store. Puree the entire can.Refrigerate in a glass jar for up to 3 months. Try adding a few teaspoons to soups, stews, casserole, and tacos for a deep spicy flavor.
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