Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tamale Pie - 15 Mealpods

 This recipe was insired by a Tamale Pie recipe my mom got out of Paula Deen's magazine that used  canned enchilada sauce, thick corn masa, and  loads of cheddar cheese. I liked it but I wanted to try and make it taste more like authentic tamales, without all the rolling and folding. I started with researching how to make the key meat in the middle: boiling pork loin with garlic and onions until it soaks up all the flavor and falls off the bone. I replaced the canned sauce with a simple homemade one and replaced the cheddar with milder (and leaner) mozzarella that doesn't overpower the other flavors.

The result is a layered casserole that tastes like a tamale, with the added pleasure of cheese and a thick enchilada like sauce that is a bit more tomatoe-ey (you could call it a chili sauce). It also only has 232 calories per Mealpod, so two of them make a great meal.

Forgive me my photos today- I lent out my camera and had to use my husband's tablet to take the photographs. I hope to replace them with better ones soon.

Tamale Pie Recipe

2.5 - 3 lb pork loin
3 small onions
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups Masa Maseca instant corn flour (for use with tamales and tortillas)
2 cups broth (from the pork loin)
24 oz strained tomatoes
3 tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
12 oz part-skim mozzarella

Overnight: Place the pork loin, onions (cut in half), and garlic in a large crock pot. Fill with water to cover the loin and cook on low overnight. In the morning remove everything from the crock pot, and shred the pork to small pieces, getting rid of the fat and bones. Save 3 cups of broth.

Make the sauce: In a sauce pot add strained tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, cocoa, salt, oregano and simmer for 2 minuutes. Add water and continue to simmer for a minute or two. When finished pour half of the sauce into the shredded pork and stir to coat. It should not be drippy. Save the rest of the sauce.

Grease 2 casserole dishes. I used a 2.5 quart Corningware dish and a 1.5 quart Corningware dish.

Masa: In a medium bowl, mix together masa and 2 cups of broth with a fork. It will look like a bunch of little balls (like pie crust). If it is dry add more of the broth or warm water. Press together in a big ball and divide in four. Between two pieces of plastic wrap roll out each piece to 1/8 of an inch thick. Spread one in the bottom of two well greased casserole pans. Save the other two. (Make sure you get the right Masa - it must say it is used for tamales and tortillas on the bag and can be found in the authentic Mexican section of your store - see the image at the bottom of the post).

Now comes the layering of the casseroles. After the layer of masa, spread  1/4 of the pork mixture, the 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat with a layer masa, pork, and cheese. Do this for both casseroles. Bake in a 350 oven for 20-30 minutes without the lid or until the cheese just barely starts to brown. Remove from oven, let cool and slice into 15 mealpods. Save the extra enchilada sauce in the refrigerator for the week or freeze some individually. Use to top the tamale pie when you are ready to eat it.

If you are worried about the acid in canned tomatoes leeching the aluminum in the can - I use Pomi tomato products that come in cardboard boxes. For this recipe I used the strained tomatoes below. There are no preservatives and are 100% tomatoes.

1 comment:

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