Wednesday 9 April 2014

Vegetable Pies & Tamale Shepherd’s Pie

Mexican is quickly becoming one of our favorite styles for cooking. Somehow various combinations of beans, tomatoes, peppers, and cheese never seem to get old! I’ve recently upped our game and started trying to cook dried beans. While it requires a little advanced planning (the gene for which I naturally lack), I found the sacrifice is worth the taste!
I loved these tamale pies as a new way to experience Latin flavors outside of a quesadilla. They might be one of my favorite Mexican inspired recipes I’ve made yet, especially since they comes in their own personal dish! .This recipe is very easy to throw together if you use prepared polenta and canned beans, but it’s just as fun to make your own from “scratch” – and tastes better too! (If you’re Indy-based, check out this local source for cornmeal and dried beans.) It’s a great option for dinner guests that’s impressive, but not too labor intensive.
  • 6 au gratin or small oven proof dishes (or one 9 x 9 baking dish)
  • 1 cup cornmeal for polenta (or prepared polenta, about two 18 ounce tubes)
  • 3 cups pinto beans, cooked (or canned)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (or a mix of Monterrey jack and cheddar)
  • Sour cream to serve
  1. Make the polenta. When it is done, spread a layer evenly in the bottom of each dish.
  2. For a firm polenta as the base layer, prepare the polenta in advance and refrigerate for 1 hour or more prior to baking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. Chop the cilantro. Drain the can of diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups salsa to remove excess liquid. If using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans.
  5. In large bowl, coarsely mash the beans with a fork. Add 1 cup corn, tomatoes, salsa, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup cilantro. Mix to combine.
  6. Spoon the bean mixture on top of the polenta. Top each dish with cheese and remaining cilantro.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until heated through. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream to serve.
Read More:
A creamy layer of lime-kissed mashed red potatoes over a succulent and spicy stew of black beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, poblano peppers and corn, with a few of the usual southwestern flavors thrown in. To give it true tamale flavor, a few handfuls of crumbled up tortilla chips tossed into the stew do the trick. It’s the perfect meal for these rainy months at the beginning of Spring. I love how the red potatoes look on top, adding flecks of pretty blush. It makes a ton, too, and leftovers taste just as good.

For the mashed potato layer:
  • 2 1/2 lbs unpeeled red potatoes, cut into big chunks (1 1/2 inches or so)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 scant teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra)
  • 1 onion, diced medium
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded, diced medium
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, cut in half and sliced 1/4 inch thick or so
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/4 lbs plum tomatoes (about 6), chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 ounces tortilla chips (about 4 good-sized handfuls)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s red hot hot sauce (plus extra for serving)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (2 15 oz cans rinsed and drained)
  1. Place potatoes in a pot and submerge in salted water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Drain potatoes and immediately transfer them back into the pot. It’s important to do this while everything is still hot. Give them a quick preliminary mash, then add the milk, olive oil, lime zest and salt. Mash until creamy, taste for salt, then cover and set aside. (Note: I usually add black pepper, but decided not to here so that the lime really shines through. If you feel naked without it, though, go ahead and add some.)
  3. To prepare the stew:
  4. Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Saute onion and pepper in olive oil and a pinch of salt, until peppers are softened, about 10 minutes. In the meantime prep all your other ingredients.
  5. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. Add mushrooms and cilantro and cook until the mushrooms have released a lot of moisture, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, wine, salt, cumin and red pepper flakes. Turn heat up and cover the pan, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes. The tomatoes should break down and become saucy (if corn was frozen it may take a bit longer.)
  6. Now take the tortilla chips and crush them into fine crumbs with your hands. It’s ok if there are a few bigger pieces, but aim for crumbs. Add them to the stew and mix well. Since tortillas can be salty, wait until they’re added to taste for salt. Mix in the lime juice and hot sauce, then fold in the black beans and heat through. Now taste for salt and seasonings.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a deep 11×13 casserole (cooking spray works just fine). Transfer the stew to the casserole and even it out with a spatula. Add the potatoes in dollops, and spread it into an even layer.
  2. Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned. Stick under the broiler for a minute or two just in case the browning isn’t happening. Serve hot garnished with cilantro, chili peppers and lime.

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  1. Shepherds Pie looks amazing. Neat presentation and wonderful photography.

  2. I'm drooling over this! Looks wonderful!

  3. Both the pies look so good ...Cant take my eyes of it .

  4. Time to try and time to enjoy the deliciousness.

  5. super amazing pie........ drooling here :)

  6. Delicious pies Love to taste a bite.

  7. beautiful click....looks so yummmmmmy:) can't resist:)

  8. Am enjoying your space, photos looks fabulous, Loving this shepherd pie :)