Tamale pie is a holdover from America's first flush of romance with Mexican cuisine. The love affair hasn't let up -- not with the lure of cornbread, cheese, and chili, even when made with turkey.


Recipe Summary



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Whisking constantly, add cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, switching to a wooden spoon when cornmeal becomes too thick to whisk. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, cover, and keep warm over low heat.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add onion, garlic, bell pepper, chile, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is light gold and vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add turkey, and cook, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and juices, stock, cumin, oregano, and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and mixture resembles chili, about 10 minutes. Stir in olives, and season with salt and pepper.

  • Spread 1 1/2 cups cornmeal into bottom of prepared dish with a wet spatula. Spread turkey mixture on top, then spread remaining 2 1/2 cups cornmeal on top. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack. Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and lettuce.


Reviews (6)

135 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 15
  • 4 star values: 36
  • 3 star values: 54
  • 2 star values: 19
  • 1 star values: 11
Rating: 2.0 stars
I recently cut out this recipe when it was published in the Baltimore Sun newspaper. I sure wish I had known about these reviews before making it. Although it tasted ok, it came out as a horrible pile of glop. My wonderful husband ate it anyway without a complaint and even reviewed the recipe with me to see if and where I went wrong. Nope, wasn't me. This is just a bad recipe! Wasted my good home grown peppers.
Rating: 1 stars
Careful people. This recipe is WRONG. You will end up with grit-like mush -- nothing even close to a cornmeal crust. There must be a typo here; far too much water is being called for with the cornmeal. It was impossible to thicken the resulting "batter" on the stove. I made the mistake of thinking it would bake out/firm up in the oven. Well, it won't. Pity, because I made this for a HUGE crowd! Incredibly embarrassing. The folks at Martha Stewart really ought to correct this recipe
Rating: 1 stars
I didn't like the mushy bottom or top of the pie. By looking at the picture I figured the top would be a lot firmer. The filling was great but next time I will make a cornbread topping.
Rating: Unrated
Havn't tried it yet, because I thought it was strange to have the cornmeal on the bottom. Maybe it would work in a convection oven, but I'm scared to end up with mush! I might just top it with the cornmeal mixture...
Rating: Unrated
Had a superior tamale pie at the Smithsonian Museum of Native American HIstory cafetteria.
Rating: Unrated
Martha, Martha, Martha, you usually don't lead me wrong. This recipe took a good portion of my Sunday evening for all the elements and all of the chopping and even after letting it set for over 30 minutes, it came out totally mushy. Think grits and taco meat. Not good!