Using instant polenta and your imagination turns Easy Tamale Pie into your Easy Tamale Pie in 30 minutes or less. You could, of course, use regular long-cooked polenta.
The making of "Joann's" Easy Tamale Pie
This recipe was developed by my sister Joann, a former professional cook, now kitchen putterer.
Our family has always been big fans of repurposing leftovers, not ones to eat the exact same thing over and over. So while looking into her refrigerator one day, she saw she had some left-over slow-cooked pork roast, so she decided to make this Easy Tamale Pie.
She used instant polenta to make the tamale-like crust, she then topped it with tamale-like filling ingredients, added some cheese, popped it into the oven and 20-minutes later had this easy, filling dinner.
"This recipe is really adaptable"
While Joann used shredded pork, I used left-over poached chicken breast. Any shredded meat will work, or if you are not into meat, omit it. She also used only black beans, but I think a mixture of black beans and corn would be delicious as well.
For the salsa, you can use a jarred salsa, canned salsa, or even a refrigerated salsa/pico de Gallo.
The cheese part of the program is also up to you. I used a mixture of cheddar and jack cheeses with a bit of cotija mixed in, because I love its saltiness, but you could use all of one, or all of another.
I do not recommend using a non-fat cheese, because it just won't have the oozy melty goodness that you want for the topping.
Want more flavor?
- Add some sliced olives.
- Sliced jalapeños.
- Sliced green onion.
- Just like pizza, the topping is only limited by your imagination.
So imagine away!
Of course, feel free to make this with a regular longer cook polenta. The only difference would be the time from start to finish. I would recommend that you use my recipe for Oven Polenta, which is pretty much hands-free and delivers perfect lump-free results.
Easy Tamale Pie
- ½ of a box of instant polenta or fine cornmeal prepared according to package directions
- 1 cup or more left-over pork, chopped or pulled (or chicken, or any shredded meat)
- 8 ounces salsa
- 1 15 ½ ounce can black beans, drained
- 1 cup grated cheddar jack or combination, cheese (or as desired)
- Spread the cooked polenta into a pie plate covering the bottom and sides. Mix together the pork, beans and salsa and spread over the polenta. Cover with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 - 30 minutes, or until hot and the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
I made your easy tamale pie last night and it was absolutely delicious. I will make this recipe many times in the future. Also,
I didn't use the instant polenta (where have you found it) but rather made up my regular polenta recipe.
I used instant for a quick dinner, but regular long-cooked polenta is always better IMHO. Glad you enjoyed the recipe. Cheers!
For Rosemary: I found ready-made polenta at Trader Joe's. I haven't used it in this recipe yet but it has worked out well in other instances. It comes in a tube/Italian salami shaped roll and whatever amount I've used I've just sliced off the roll.
Hi Kathie, I think that the tube of pre-made polenta would work if you cut it thinly and overlapped, or let it come to room temp and try to spread it. Good suggestion. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. Cheers!
one of the best parts of this dish is the contrast in textures...the delicate crunch in the Polenta, the cheesy crisp crunch, the gooey cheese melt and the delicate black olive--great dish
pair with beer or a solid merlot
I'll go with the merlot!
Excellent! Goes great with a glass of Pinot Grigio!! Haha.
Added Olives too and 3 kinds of cheeses, so good!
My meat was chili I had made with beans and beef.
Had leftover polenta to use, the bomb!!!
Thanks for the idea!!
It so does so right? And love your additions. Great to get an idea and run with it. Pinot Grigio Cheers ~ Lindy