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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 Star Makeover: Farm to Table Tamale Pie

It is always so much fun to participate in the monthly 5 Star Cooking Group, hosted by our friends Natasha at 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro at Lazaro Cooks! This summer's June and July theme is "Farmers' Market". We all love farmers' market. The fruits never disappoint and the unique produce always bring surprises like gorgeous flowers, exotic herbs, and cute heirloom tomatoes. This is the first 5 Star Makeover where I decided to browse and buy all the ingredients first before making a dish.
Farm to Table Tamale Pie
As I stared at the beautiful and colorful herbs, edible flowers, corn, heirloom tomatoes, I was reminded of Mexican cuisine. I envisioned a delicious tamale pie made with beans, corn, and tomatoes and served over a bed of mixed herbs, greens and flowers. I couldn't help but thinking it's a wonderful idea as I inhaled the fresh scent of all the herbs, mixed with the enticing smell of a baking corn tamale pie.

Tamale Pie on a Bed of Herbs, Greens and Edible Flowers

Tamale Pie
Serves 4-6

  • Butter for greasing casserole
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of table salt
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of fresh corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp of minced fresh oregano
  • 2 ounces of shredded monterey jack cheese
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tsp of table salt
  • 1.5 cups of coarse cornmeal
  1. For the filling, butter 3-quart casserole. Preheat oven to 375F. 
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and add ground turkey to cook until no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add onion and jalapeno and cook for 3 minutes, then add garlic cayenne, chili powder, and salt, and cook for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add tomatoes with juice, black beans, and corn and simmer until most of liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in oregano and season with salt (I added quite a bit of salt here) and pepper to taste.
  4. For the crust, bring water to boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Add salt and slowly pour in cornmeal while whisking vigorously. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook while whisking until cornmeal mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
  5. Spread 2/3 of cornmeal mixture on sides of buttered casserole (optional: you can also spread them on the bottom if you like). Spoon turkey mixture evenly into casserole and sprinkle with cheese. Spread remaining cornmeal mixture evenly on top of cheese, spreading it out to edges of casserole to seal filling.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered and serve. 


  1. Wow, this is the most beautiful, vibrant tamale pie ever!!! Who could resist this deliciousness???

  2. this is the most beautiful tamale pie I've seen. well, is the only one I've seen but still looks great

  3. This looks really great - the photos are brilliantly colourful!

  4. I really love the idea of a tamale pie! This looks wonderful, I love all the bright, fresh colors and different flavors!

  5. Great dish inspired by your local produce! Fresh and colorful veggies SHOULD remind us all of Mexican cuisine instead of the processed, over-salted dishes we usually get. Great work here!

  6. Omg, a farm-to-table tamale pie. I would not have thought of it, and I lOVE it. So colorful, it looks like summer on a plate.

  7. Vibrant color and full of fresh flavors - I'm in love with your farm-to-table tamale pie! Inspired dish for sure :)

  8. Oh wow.. it looks so wonderful and colorful! Sounds so fresh and delicious :)

  9. It looks gorgeous. I've tried only once to make tamale and I'll definitely bookmark your recipe :)

  10. oh wow, i love the idea of tamale pie with fresh summer farmers market veggies. i have a weakness for corn. lol. and i like how the crust doesn't have butter in it. just cornmeal, water, and salt - simple and gluten free :)

  11. This is definitely one of the prettiest tamale pies I've ever seen! And I just love the fact these were all in season veggies =)

  12. wooo...hoooo....sounds delicious..
    Tasty Appetite

  13. Made it yesterday ... recipe spelled things out clearly ... amounts for seasoning were right (for my taste) ... my wife and I thought it was terrific. I picked up my neighbor after dinner from the airport, and invited her over to have some, and she loved it, as well. My first effort with ground turkey - vey pleased. Leftovers in frig.

  14. Your farmers' market tamale pie sounds wonderful! Just perfect served on a bed of fresh herbs, greens and edible flowers.

  15. Beautiful! This is such and exciting dish with so many great flavors.

  16. edible flowers .. wow! That not only looks delicious but looks pretty too!

  17. Your tamale pie is a great inspiration for a farmers' market trip. Lovely creation and contribution :)

  18. I like tamale and yours has this vibrant colors that makes it delicious looking. And the greens make it look healthy. As always, good job on the post. Have a great weekend!

    - ray -

  19. edible flowers always make a dish so sophisticated! And pairing it with a tamale is so genius since it's not typically done in Latin cuisine! Loving all of the round up dishes so far!

  20. This is not boring for sure and the idea of "farm to table" is wonderful. And, delicious.

  21. What a great mix of colors. And, the fresh ingredients sound delicious!

  22. I love that you worked it backwards. So many times I walk into my fm and just let the ingredients speak to me.

    Fantastic concept and presentation.


  23. Love the farm-fresh inspired tamale pie. Simply gorgeous with great ingredients.

  24. Your pie looks wonderfully vibrant and summery - who wouldn't want to have that on the table for dinner? :)

  25. wow i love the idea of farm-to-table! Great work with tamele and its filling. I like the side dish that goes with tamele too!

  26. So colorful and full of fresh farmer's market flavors!

  27. I've never made tamale before and only had one in restaurant. This is totally different from what I used to see and looks beautiful Jessica! I like how you put food on blue plate. The whole presentation looks wonderful!