15 May 2011

tamale pie

Tamale pie is the default for evenings after a day full of too many blahs. My husband and I love to talk about how it isn't anywhere near a pie -- it's really just a delicious chili baked with cornbread on top. And that's just a winning combination every single time.

Last week was full of crappy weather, a rejection from a potential job, more waiting on another potential job (as I like to call them, 'big-girl jobs'), and a moment in which I stared down an application to work at a pet food store and deeply considered applying to work nights and weekends because we're so damn poor. Then I realized I'd never see my little family, or enjoy a run (always free!), or have time to cook dinner. Basically, it would remove my sanity for a few more bucks and discounted pet food. I actually feel like I deserve a real job (finally!), and now I can't find one. Blahs. If I don't find a new big-girl science job in five years, I swear I'm just going to suck it up and open a coffee shop/bakery/veggie-friendly restaurant/wine bar. Dogs will be permitted on the patio, I can guarantee you this.

So yeah, there were blahs that needed to be removed. We made tamale pie. I remembered to put a pan under it to catch the inevitable overflow of chili-tomato-y goodness. I also remembered to put lebni on it. We weren't out of crushed tomatoes. We tried out a lovely new gewurztraminer. I sewed an iPad case on the fly. The dog let me touch her paws with the help of a handful of Charlee Bears (the cranberry ones).  We all snuggled. Breathe in, breathe out. Things aren't so bad. I have a job. Life will get better. I just need to believe that I'm not lying to myself when I say that.

Right. Tamale Pie. Have a look-see:

Tamale Pie
Makes 6 serious servings

For the stew:
1 T. veggie oil
1 med onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (green or red, both work well)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chili powder
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. smoked paprika
several dashes of chipotle Tabasco
1 4 oz. can of diced green chilis
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, unsalted
1 1/2 c. diced extra firm tofu
1 1/2 c. cooked beans, kidney, black, or pinto
1 c. corn, frozen
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh cilantro, if you've got it

For the topping:
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
2/3 c. milk
3 T. butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Put a rack in the middle and another below. Be sure to put a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch anything that spills over.
1. Heat the oil over med-hi heat in a 2 qt. saucepan. Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic; cook and stir until softened. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and paprika for 30 seconds.
2. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the tofu, kidney beans, corn, and green chilis. Add the Tabasco and cilantro.
3. Spoon into a greased baking pan, 9"x9" or 8"x10".
4. In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk and melted butter until combined.
6. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry until the dry ingredients are moistened. Spread over the stew.
7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown.
8. Let it sit 10-15 minutes (it will be bubbling!), then serve with shredded cheese and sour cream/plain yogurt.

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