Food and memories are tied together like a horse and carriage. This recipe is one of my fondest and most favorite meals of all time. Therefore, I dedicate this recipe to my momma. When I was a kid, as soon as the weather got cold, my mom pulled out all the stops when it came to cooking! In the kitchen, both of my parents were adventurous! Flavor first was their motto!
Usually, dinner was always a good thing. I developed my love of herbs and spices from cooking with her. I also learned how to roll tamales, make a good pie crust, use a candy thermometer to make dad’s fudge.
Much of what my mother learned about cooking she learned from my step-father. Before they were married, my pop’s lived in a cabin in the middle of nowhere Alaska for nearly 13 years. He made bread, caught fish, and hunted for everything he ate. He grew herbs and vegetables and became quite the flavor aficionado. Before marrying my mom, he was stationed in France, Vietnam, and Lebanon, so he exposed her to exotic flavor profiles and cooking techniques that are now a part of my culinary world!
But sometimes, but sometimes…
You would come home to the rancid smell of salt-rising bread. An old Appalachian bread recipe from the 1800s, my mom had gone to the library and found the starter recipe, which smelled like a cross between dirty socks and overripe cheese. Or the time we had boiled muscles. The only thing I remember is the gritty taste of sand in my mouth. She realized too little, too late, that the muscles had to be rinsed and soaked first. Oh well, live and learn.
And, of course, some recipes stick out in your mind. This Hot Tamale Pie recipe is one of them. It is the ultimate comfort food. My mom used Jiffy cornbread mix, but I subbed that out for masa flour and vegetable stock. And instead of ground beef, I used a plant-based alternative. Otherwise, all things are precisely the same. My family loved this flavor bomb, and for me, it was a glorious trip down memory lane! I hope you love it too!
- 1 pack impossible meat or other plant-based ground
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic (1 tsp), minced
- 1 (15 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 (10 oz) bag frozen corn (1/2 cup set aside)
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
- 2 cups masa flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp Just Egg or other vegan egg sub (2 egg equivalent)
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya Farmhouse Jalapeno Havarti)
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Warm a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Sauté until veggies begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add plant-based meat, sprinkle with cornstarch, and add spices. Brown meat, and taste for seasoning. Add tomatoes, green chili’s, cheese, and remaining corn. Mix well.
- In a medium-size bowl add masa flour and baking powder. Mix well. Slowly, add 2 cups vegetable stock (May need a little more stock depending on the coarseness of the masa), stir until smooth. Add 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels. Stir well.
- If you are using a cast iron skillet simply top meat mixture with the masa. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until corn bread is lightly golden.
- If you are not using a cast iron, then place mixture in a 9X12” oven proof baking dish. Top with masa and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cornbread is lightly golden.
- Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and/or green onions.