Tamale Polenta Pie

This recipe is based on Joy of Cooking's cornbread tamale pie.


Decide if you want to bake this in an oven proof skillet (cuts back on cleaning) or a casserole dish (nice if serving at the table). If using a casserole, set it next to the stove.

Preheat oven to 375.

Meanwhile, cut into 1/2 inch thick, half moon shapes, and set aside:
  • 1 16 oz. tube of polenta 

In a large oven-proof skillet or dutch oven, over medium high heat, in 2 batches, setting aside the first batch in bowl (casserole if using), brown:
  • 2.5 pounds ground beef (salt it in the pan)

Turn off stove and pour out fat from pan but don't clean the pan. In the same pan sauté until translucent, 5-10 minutes:
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 

Add the meat back to the pan and stir well, then stir in:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable (or chicken) broth 
  • 2 cups crushed or diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained black beans or frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Heat over medium or medium high until mixture boils then turn down heat to low. Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring every two minutes or so.

Turn off the heat and either pour mixture in the casserole or leave it in the pan, then top with:
  • polenta slices
  • 1/2 cup (or less) shredded cheddar cheese

Bake 30 minutes, until cheese is browned and chili is bubbling through the polenta. Remove from the oven and let it sit at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime.