Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fall is Coming Tamale Pie

We planted butternut squash in our garden this year. I was a little frightened when I saw that it had been taking reproduction cues from bunnies and zucchini. For a while, it looked like we were going to have a 20 year supply of hard winter squash. But then most of them lost the will to live and withered on the vine and we ended up with just enough to satisfy my Autumnal needs . (Is Autumnal even a word? Well, it should be.) It was sort of a relief. What kind of gardener am I? Why is it a relief when my crops fail? It's because sometimes I wish that my garden would produce like a grocery list- a pound of green beans one week, a bunch of broccoli the next, a few ears of corn and a ripe tomato every couple of days. A generous bounty means labor, toil, and elbow grease right the minute the vegetables say they are ready-despite the fact that you have papers to grade, classes to teach, meetings to attend, etc. I'm not complaining, I'm just, well...complaining. Enough of that! At least my butternut squash came out just right. I've got enough for one per week, and it's going to keep just fine without any attention. I love the golden, buttery stuff. I've been tossing in a little here and there to add a flavor of Fall-is-Coming. It is coming, you know. And that means it's time for chili and cornbread and all of it's variations, like good old fashioned Tamale Pie. Here's my latest version with a little bit of that buttenut squash tossed in. I brought it over to my parent's house for a family dinner, and they've been raving about it all week. My mom even made a tamale pie to take over to the neighbors the next day. And don't worry if you didn't grow your own butternut squash. Head over to the grocery store; they've got plenty. Notes: You can leave out the meat for a cheaper, vegetarian version. If you want to double the batch, you can bake extra miniature pies in ramekins. If you're pressed for time, you can use a cornbread mix and a pepped up can of chilli. I won't judge.
Fall is Coming Tamale Pie

Estimated Cost: $7.00 for six servings
Notes: If you are pressed for time, use a cornbread mix.
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, minced
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups cubed butternut squash or other hard winter squash
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (14 ounce) can chili beans, or 1 cup fully cooked beans
1/2 cup beef broth or water
Cornbread Topping:
1 and 1/4 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1 scant tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
In a large 10 or 12 inch ovenproof skillet, cook ground beef breaking up with back of spoon. After five minutes, add garlic, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Cook until beef is browned and vegetables are softened. Add chili powder and cumin and cook for thirty seconds. Add squash, tomatoes, beans, and broth. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about ten minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cornbread topping and preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. I a smaller bowl, combine eggs, oil, and milk. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and stir gently, just until combined. Pour over meat mixture in skillet and bake until cornbread is browned and set, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven just to melt.
Next Up:
Dutch Oven Apple Crisp

11 comments:

gigi said...

Great fall dish full of yummy flavor :)

Lisa said...

So delicious! Love all of your easy mexican recipes!

Julie Harward said...

Yay...I am # 560 follower...I just had to sign in, I miss too many of your great posts! This looks wonderful..perfect for Fall! Come say hi :D

The Japanese Redneck said...

It looks good. Sometimes some of those veggies go crazy....

Like my okra is doing right now!

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

Yes, autumnal is a word! I used that word at work once. I was at grand rounds and was surrounded by doctors, nurses, therapists, and other well-educated types. I complimented a dietitian on her "autumnal" outfit and not a soul in the room knew what I was talking about. It was horrifying!

Michal said...

You may have convinced me that this is worth trying, although tamale pie has never been on my list of favored foods. I adore butternut squash in the risotto and lasagne recipes you posted a couple of autumns back and use them frequently. Why not in this? Thanks for always inspiring me.

syxmiles said...

Prudelicious, happy Friday! I often wonder how you come up with your ideas of something different to make, everyday. I have a hard time just figuring out what to wear. That's when I, too, feel like your butternut squash and loose the will to live. Two words I would never put together are "Tamale" and "Pie". That would be like a gorgeous Hispanic man married to a French/Italian woman. It would never work. But yet, your dish looks amazing. How can I get my girlfriend to try it? Have a great week.

Prudy said...

syxmiles,
I've been waiting all morning for your comment. Next week will you please post at 12:01 AM so that I will not become like you and the butternut squash? Thanks for giving me another reason to look forward to Friday, my little Peachy tamale pie.

FoodontheTable said...

I wish it felt like fall in Austin!

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