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Tamale Pie
Tamale Pie & Frijoles
a Tex-Mex-style chilli and corn bake

This dish is similar to enchilada pie in the way it is prepared and cooked, but the addition of creamed corn and capsicum makes a tasty alternative. Like most of our recipes, the type of meat used is your choice, as is the amount of spice; so you can have it hot, mild, or not at all. We've used frijoles (Recipe R01) as an accompaniment, but vegetables or salad go well too.

1 Kg low-fat beef mince
1 large onion chopped
400g can diced tomatoes
310g can creamed corn
170g tomato paste
1 diced green capsicum
150g chopped green olives
2 tsps chilli powder
½ tsp Italian herbs (optional)
½ tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
400g grated cheddar cheese
12 tortillas
½ cup of water
salt & pepper to taste
extra tortillas for the table

Fry the meat with the onion in a large frypan or skillet, breaking up the mince and turning it frequently until cooked. Add the tomatoes, corn, capsicum, olives, tomato paste, garlic, herbs and water, then mix well. Heat until just boiling, turn down to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it starts to dry out. While this is doing its thing, have a taste (don't burn your tongue!). If you intend using it, now's the time to add the chilli a little at a time, stirring to mix before tasting again. I've found that every new pack of this spice is different to the last, so never assume its strength - too much of a really hot one will ruin the dish. Towards the end of the simmer period, decide if you need more chilli, but don't over do it. Better to cater for the average palate and provide some Tabasco sauce on the side for your more adventurous diners. Mix in a little salt and pepper if desired.

Tear each tortilla in quarters and use the pieces to line the bottom of a large, greased casserole or roasting pan. Spread about one third of the mixture evenly over the lining, then sprinkle on one third of the cheese. Top with another layer of tortilla quarters, then the next third of mixture and cheese as before. Repeat this to finish the job. The only thing left to do now is cook your Tamale Pie. Bake in the oven on 175°C conventional (160°C fan-forced) for approximately 35 minutes. Keep a check on the progress to avoid burning - remember, the ingredients are already pre-cooked: this final stage is merely to heat them through and melt the cheese. Once the top layer has melted and is beginning to brown (not like ours in the picture!) It's ready to dish up.

Serves 6-8 with tortillas and light sour cream on the side         Freezes well

Click this Click for PDF file image to view or print recipe.

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