Green Chile Tamale Pie

I love Tamales – in fact, I love them so much – that I selfishly took my team at work to learn how to make Tamales one afternoon as a morale event.  It was great fun – everyone pitched in and cooked, and afterwards we got to sit down and eat the
fruit of our labor.  The tamales were so incredibly fresh – along with the homemade salsa and guacamole that we made – they couldn’t have been better.  I swear I would make them at home all the time, except that I don’t have a tortilla press yet – so instead, I look for recipes that are just as good, just shaped differently.

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light – and I immediately cut it out to make.  I have a favorite tamale pie recipe, but this one was different – instead of using Polenta for the topping, you make the topping with Masa Harina – exactly what we used to make
the tamales.  I was so excited, although at the same time slightly disappointed that I didn’t come up with this idea myself!  This was even better than my old standby tamale pie – this really tasted like the tamales I made that day with my team.  My kids even shocked me and both LOVED the topping (even before I put sour cream on it!).  I couldn’t believe it – it was a success all the way around.  If you are a tamale fan, this is not to be missed – now I can’t promise your kids will like it – but at least there is hope…


  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces ground sirloin
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 poblano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces tomatillos (about 8 small), chopped
  • 1 cup frozen baby lima beans
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine the masa harina, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and ground red pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Add 1 cup boiling water to masa mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Cover until ready to use.

Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add beef to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion, garlic, poblano chile, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add tomatillos and lima beans to pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add butter and baking powder to masa mixture, stirring until smooth. Dollop batter over filling, and spread into an even layer. Cover pan with foil; bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned around edges. Remove from oven; let stand 3 minutes. Sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco or sour cream and cilantro.

Serves 4-6

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Green Chile Tamale Pie

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