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Tamale Pie

What you need: 

2 small or 1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and cracked (or just under 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and cracked (or under 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander)
1 jalapeno, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (or about 1 1/2 cups cooked dried black beans)
12 ounces chunky salsa
2 ounces tempeh, diced, optional
2 cups water
dash salt
1 cup fine yellow corn meal
2 teaspoons chili powder

What you do: 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Saute carrots in vinegar or whatever you usually use, along with the oregano, cumin, and coriander. Add the jalapeno and the beans, stirring and cooking about 3 min, then add salsa and reduce heat to a simmer. Brown tempeh, if using.
2. While the bean mixture is simmering, bring water to boil with dash of salt. A little at a time, sprinkle the corn meal into the boiling water, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Continue sprinkling and stirring until you have a thick porridge resembling grits or cream of wheat. Don't force all the corn meal into the batter if it looks done with less.
3. Remove cornmeal batter from heat and stir in chili powder. The bean mixture should be just about cooked now. If carrots are tender, remove bean mixture from heat. Spread 1/2 the corn meal mixture into the bottom of a large loaf pan or small baking dish.
4. Spread all of the bean mixture (or as much as reaonably fits in your pan) onto the corn batter. Top with remaining 1/2 the batter, kind of like a top and bottom crust. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top corn meal batter is pretty firmly set.
Garnish, if desired, with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, hot sauce, etc.
Source of recipe: I made this up night before last, and I'm just finishing the leftovers. It was delicious and simple.'

Preparation Time: 
Cooking Time: 
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Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

I had some extra chili sitting around, so I made this with it. I spread the chili (about 2 cups worth?) in a pan, layered a few slices of vegan american cheese, and then covered it with the cornmeal mixture. I baked it for about 50 minutes, and the cornmeal stuff never really cooked all the way through - is that the way it is supposed to be? I ate it regardless and it was pretty good - like chili with crispy polenta. I highly recommend adding the vegan cheese. Thanks!

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i was surprised this got great reviews because i thought it was very mediocre. the cornmeal to water ratio was off and made for a very thick corn mass -- difficult to spread. i like the idea though, so i'm going to tweak it:
use a 4:1 water to corn ratio and double the amount so i can make both a top and bottom crust (this recipe will only do that if you use a bread loaf pan)
bake it for longer so the softer corn mass will be able to firm up
use fresh ingredients rather than jarred. the salsa i ended up using was blisteringly hot and didn't have a very good flavor, which is essential here because that's the taste you're going to wind up with. next time i'm going to use fresh or canned tomatoes, fresh cilantro, onions, hot pepper, garlic, etc. i didn't really like the addition of the carrots so i'll probably leave those out.
anyway, so this recipe is okay, not great. i would highly suggest playing around with it.

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MMMMmmm!! YUMMY. it really added a little kick to the chili to have a cornbread/polenta type "crust" on bottom and top. because the chili was spicy enough, i added cumin to the crust mixture instead. so gonna be using this again...maybe with a sweet potato chili type filling...? maybe, we'll see. thanks for the recipe and inspiration.

lenorre.

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Lenorre, I think using your leftover chili would work well for the filling.  I don't think I've made this exact recipe, but when I've made similar recipes, I usually just put the cornmeal crust on top only.  (Another thing I like to do with leftover chili is make chili-mac.  Boil some macaroni noodles (or other pasta), while you heat up the chili.  When both are done, mix together.)

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so i've been wanting to try this recipe for a while but just haven't gotten there yet. i was wondering though, i have a ton of left over veggie chili with fake meat in it and wanted to know if it would be a good idea to do the same sort of thing but use the already cooked chili for the "filling"? does anyone know if that would work or will i just ruin it all?

thanks!
lenorre

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I haven't made this yet, but it looks like something my mom used to make (she put meat in it though). I suggest trying it with some chopped black olives, as well. Black olives tend to go well with this type of food. :)

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Very good!  I recommend a little squirt of lime juice over the top of each serving once it's on the plate, it's really yum!  I subbed kidney beans for black beans, and my proportion of crust to filling was a bit different, and next time I'd probably use less crust in the ratio.  Oh, I also added corn kernels and chopped zuccini and skipped the carrots, as that's what I had on hand.  The cornmeal mixture was a bit tricky...it seems like two seconds after it starts to thicken up it REALLY thickens up fast!  Next time I'll be a little more prepared for dealing with that.  I wonder what it would be like to cook the cornmeal in broth instead of water....

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Anonymous

We liked this recipe alot! I added a tiny bit of soycheese to the top. I used a really good chipotle salsa that is low in sodium. I added defrosted corn kernels to the cornmeal batter to add more nutrition than processed corn meal typically has. I also added some chopped swiss chard to the bean mixture. You always need to add some leafy greens to dishes. The flavors were good even omitting the salt. Too many recipes call for way too much salt which is even more dangerous for vegetarians who often get high blood pressure after years of high sodium.

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I made this the other night & it was soooooo good, I mean one of the best new recipes I've tried all year. I subbed rotel for the salsa & 1/2 tsp. of cayenne for the chili powder & it was delish, even my meat luvin' grandma & sister loved it. We topped it with cilantro, green onions, tomatoes and sour cream, man it was good. There was only one serving left the next day and even though I wanted it I had to let my grandma have it, I think she wanted it even more! I will definitely make again, but next time I will double the recipe, Thanks!

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Ajiah: It doesn't make alot. I had half of the pie for dinner, and then ate the other half later that night as a snack (had been hoping to save the other half for dinner the next day...but it was too good to last that long!). So I'd say it serves one to two. (And it's just as good cold)

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