February 17, 2007

Tamale Pie

I love Amy's Tamale Pie. So for tomorrow's potluck at church I thought I'd try making my own version of the dish.

I've searched for recipes online and this is the one that I've used the most to base my own recipe off of. But I've made several modifications (mostly trying to draw it as close to the Amy's version as possible).

2 cups dry pinto and/or black beans
Vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon cumin
2 cups polenta
4 - 8 cups vegetable stock (to cook beans in)
1 teaspoon Bragg’s or tamari
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups chopped vegetables (corn, zucchini -whatever you like)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup grated cheese

1. Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Drain and cover with vegetable stock or fresh water. Add 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 teaspoon chili powder and simmer 2 1/4 hours or until tender. (I covered with 4 cups of veggie stock but ended up adding at least another 4 if not 5 or 6 cups of water as the beans cook but didn't get soft enough. I also ended up cooking the beans for at least 4 hours. Why don't my beans ever get soft enough in the amount of time that the recipes say?!!)

2. Mix polenta and 2 to 3 times as much water. (I used 2 1/2 times as much.) Add 1 teaspoon Bragg’s and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until mixture thickens and all the liquid is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). The polenta should still be smooth enough to stir fairly easily. Press mixture into sides and bottom of a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish at least 1 1/2 inches deep, saving one-fourth of the amount to drop of spread on top later. (The polenta will harden up as it sits in the pan.)

3. In a separate pan, saute onions until translucent. Add corn, zucchini and any other veggies (or tofu) that you might want to toss in. combine cooked beans (which can be mashed with a potato masher, leaving some whole) with other ingredients except cheese. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are almost cooked. Pour into baking pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and spoon on remaining cornmeal mixture.

4. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.

Serves 6-8.