Panhandle Tamale Pie — Budget Recipe

Very filling and warming on a cold day (or any day, for that matter — this is the flavor of the Texas panhandle.  Lots of protein, lots of fiber, lots of veggies, and lots of flavor.

It’s also easy to convert to a meatless version — just trade out the ground pork for a drained can of pinto beans (use the juice in the topping), and about 1/2 c more whole kernel corn….  That will also lower the cost by about .20/serving.

serves 8 with a side salad
@ about $1.70/serving
(assuming you have basic spices on hand)


1 lb ground pork tenderloin
1 – 15-16oz can refried beans, any flavor
1 10 oz can Rotel Tomatoes
4 oz Pace Piquante Sauce, mild (use Med or Hot if you like things hotter)
6 oz sweet white onion, minced fine
2/3 c frozen corn kernels
6+oz jar of pickled jalapeño slices
1/4c  Penzey’s Chili con Carne seasoning (or other chili powder blend for chili – Williams, Morton etc)
1 t salt
1/2 t fine ground black pepper
1/2 t dried thyme
1 T smoky hot paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 c dried grits, prepared as directed on package, but add an additional 2T water to the recipe
3 T butter
1 1/2 c (about 8 oz) shredded Montery Jack cheese (or pepper jack for a spicy version)
1/3 c shredded parmesan cheese
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 t salt

  • cook grits according to package directions adding butter and salt while they cook.   Pour the cooked grits into a shallow pans to cool while you do the next step (like a pyrex baking dish, or a couple of cake pans)
  • In a large skillet, brown the pork, then add onions and seasonings and continue to brown until onions are clarified.  Stir in Rotel tomatoes, Pace, corn, and refried beans, and stir until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Cover and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Pour meat/bean/veg mixture into a Pam’d large lasagna pan or other large baking dish
  • Beat eggs and combine them with the grits, shredded jack cheese, and half the parmesan cheese.  Pour the grits mixture over the meat and spread evenly.  Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn heat down to 350 and continue to cook for 35 minutes (if you are using a pan deeper than 3″, add 10-15 minutes cooking time)  The meat/bean mixture should be bubbling up around the edges of the grits topping.

Serve with a good green salad with lots of chopped tomatoes!

Garnish portions of the tamale pie with a scattering of pickled jalapeño slices.



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