I was struggling with the proper way to name this dish since “tamale” isn’t a word in Spanish. However, this dish is nothing like tamales, so I guess “tamale” is appropriate since both are are not authentically Mexican :). Anyway, when I told my Mexican girlfriend that I was making this dish, she went crazy because it is nothing like a tamal. I’ve made tamales, and I’ve helped my girlfriend’s mother make tamales as well. So, I’m aware of how much work, time, and ingredients are involved in making the real thing.
I compared a few recipes online, but I preferred the one I used because of the layer of corn and the mix-in of cheese in the cornbread batter. The “originator” of this recipe used Jiffy cornbread mix, but I used my favorite cornbread recipe instead. Even though I’m a southerner, I prefer a little sugar in my cornbread, but feel free to reduce or eliminate the sugar. It was easy to put together the cornbread batter, so I really don’t think you need go out and buy a pre-made box of cornmeal, flour, and baking soda. That is really all it is, you know haha.I know I almost always tell you all to try out whatever meal or dish I post, but this is really good. You can make it with ground turkey or a load of beans if you don’t eat beef. Make sure you season the meat/bean section well. I added the other filling options in the recipe below. Enjoy!
greatly adapted from FoodWishes
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp veg oil
1/2 medium onion 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 lb ground beef, turkey, or canned beans (I actually used grass-fed beef for the first time)
1 cup diced peppers of your choice (optional; I didn’t use)
1 16-oz jar salsa (I used Pomì chopped tomatoes)
1 tsp salt (I used Lawry’s Seasoning Salt)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chipotle pepper (I used 3 Tbsp homemade adobe chile sauce; recipe here)
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano (I used 1-2 tsp Mexican Oregano)
4 oz cheddar cheese, divided (I used sharp)
4 oz monterey jack cheese, divided
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
In a skillet, melt butter and oil. Add onions and garlic, and cook until translucent. Add the beef, turkey, or beans and green peppers, and cook until brown (for beans, just move on to the next step).
Add salsa or chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, chipotle pepper/adobe sauce, cumin, and oregano. Once the mixture is seasoned well, allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and prepare the cornbread batter.
3 Tbsp AP flour
1 tsp salt (I used kosher)
1 tsp baking soda
1-3 Tbsp sugar (depends on how sweet you like your cornbread)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (You could use milk + lemon juice, too)
2-3 Tbsp melted butter
Stir together dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, egg, and add melted butter. Mix the ingredients until they are moistened; do not over-stir. Mix 3/4ths of the cheese to the cornbread batter.
Pour 1/4 of the mixture into the casserole pan.
Add 1/2-1 cup of the frozen or fresh corn on top of the batter.
Add all of the meat mixture. Then, add the rest of the corn (1/2-1 cup) (optional; I forgot to do this, so I had only one layer of corn, and it tasted more than fine.)
Add the rest of the cornbread batter.
Add additional cheese on top.
Bake uncovered in a preheated hot oven for 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.