No matter who you are there is always dishes you adored in childhood and this Tamale Pie is one of my go to favorites. We really didn’t have a name for it until I saw an article in Bon Appetit a few years back. I could have written that article myself.This recipe for the treasured cast iron skillet. It’s prized in our kitchen. Even our Son in Law asked for one after one of his visits. I found some old rusted ones in the basement, he sanded them down and we went through the seasoning process. He loves those skillets as much as we love ours – so much so he won’t let Suzanne touch them.I started making this when I was about 10 years old. I would accompany Mom to the store to collect the ingredients. A small package of ground beef that held more than one pound (I figured the more hamburger the more pie) cans of crushed tomatoes, shredded orange cheese and that blue box of cornbread mix. We left the pepper out when we were young – Mom didn’t like them and the taco seasoning or chili didn’t come until our tastes developed a bit. I would mix all of this up and pop it in the oven for “my” dinner at the time we called it Monica’s Cornbread Chili – I think I like the sound of Tamale Pie better, don’t you?
This was one of my first dinners I could cook myself. No need for a salad, or veggies but Mom disagreed with that part so she took matters into her own hands.I remember this dish so well and I had to feature it to celebrate back to school – where those one-skillet weeknight dinners are lifesavers. I have to admit that I haven’t made this in years so I called Mom and we reminisced about the recipe. It brought back such memories, the trip to the store, carefully picking out my ingredients and making the dish. I used Poblano peppers from the garden instead of the green pepper, Penzy’s Chili spices and lots of the pepper flakes – stuff that I never would touch as a child. I regretted passing up the blue and white box Jiffy, I opted for the “healthy” cornbread mix with whole grains. I liked the texture but this is not the stuff I remember.The pie was really good. Steve went at it with the same gusto we used to have as kids. I think he ate three helpings and that brought back memories. He even requested this be put in the dinner rotation. I can’t wait until the grandchildren are old enough to appreciate this!