Tamale Pie

This is an all time favorite -- makes lots of food.

Active time: 30 minutes • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Posted on Feb 19, 2016 by Josh King
Tags: recipes ground beef beef

We loved when we used to have time to make tamales. Our cousin, Andy, got us into it with a really complicated recipe that took about 20 hours to make a meal for four people. Those were the days…

No time? No Corn husks? It’s a perfect time for Tamale Pie! This recipe makes a lot of food, we put half or more of it away for a future quick meal.

Beans made the night before:

2 Cups of dried beans (we use a mix of pinto, black, kidney, garbanzo or whatever is around) Yogurt or kefir

Ok, you can use canned beans instead of dried...

However canned beans:

  • cost four or six times as much
  • are full of extra plastic chemicals from the can liner (even BPA free ones)
  • aren’t properly soaked so they are significantly less nutritious and…are… well… smelly. 

Read this soaked grain article on why to soak all your grains/ beans. 


  1. Add dried beans to a pot and cover with a good 4-6 inches of water. Add a scoop of live culture yogurt or kefir. 
  2. Keep at 120 degrees overnight or 24 hours, longer if you can’t keep it above room temp. If your oven has a dehydrate feature or another way to set the temp to 120 degrees, use that. Otherwise bring the water and beans up to about 120 degrees or so and place in a cooler, microwave of oven overnight. Ideally add in some boiling water in a ball jar to keep the temp up. 
  3. The next day, replace the water with new water and bring to a boil, then simmer on low until tender.


  • 5-6 T butter
  • 3-4 onions, diced
  • 2 large sweet pepper, diced
  • 1T chili powder
  • 1T freshly toasted and ground cumin
  • 8 Cups of tomatoes (or 32-48 ounces from a can)
  • 2lbs grass fed ground beef
  • 1-3 cups of sweet corn
  • 1T salt


  1. Melt butter and cook the onion and pepper for a few min. 
  2. Meanwhile, toast your whole cumin seeds and then smash with a pestle and mortar (a must for any good dish with cumin). 
  3. Add spices, beans, tomatoes and simmer. 
  4. Cook beef separately and add once cooked through. 
  5. Add corn and then remove from heat. 

The filling stores well, so freeze whatever you won’t use and then reduce the crust recipe to match.


  • 5 cups of grass fed milk
  • 2 cups of organic cornmeal
  • 1t chili powder
  • 1t salt
  • 3 T butter, cut up into small chunks


  1. Butter a glass baking pan
  2. Set oven to 350. 
  3. Add milk, cornmeal and chili powder and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat, whisking frequently. Whisk until sooth, thick and it tears away from the sides. 
  4. Spread on the bottom and side of the pan, reserving some for the top.
  5. Add the filling, then top with more crust mixture. 
  6. Add butter on top. 
  7. Bake for 45 min and serve.

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