Well-fed in Federal Way: Tamale Pie

Recipe of the week is a classic comfort food.

Tamale Pie (8 servings)

By Vickie Chynoweth

This is my own version of Tamale Pie. Tamale pie recipes have been around for decades. It is said that “Tamale Pie” was introduced sometime in the early 1900s in Texas. In the mid-1910s, tamale pie was included in home economics classes throughout the United States.

The old school recipe is still relevant today. It recipe is easy to make and relatively inexpensive to cook. Tamale pie is a classic comfort food.


1.5 pounds 93% 7% ground beef

1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoons Avocado oil

1 can large olives, quartered

1 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 can refried beans

1-2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

2 cups shredded cheese

1 box corn bread mix, any brand

Sour cream, optional


1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Spray a nonstick 9x13x2 baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Spread refried beans to cover bottom of baking dish. Set aside.

2. Make corn bread mix according to package directions. Set aside. You can also make the corn bread while the beef mixture is simmering.

3. Use a large skillet. Add avocado oil and heat until hot. Add chopped onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent.

3. Add ground beef to onion and garlic. Cook beef stirring to break down beef into small clumps and no red remains. Drain off excess oil.

4. Stir in chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce and corn. Simmer 10-15 minutes.

5. Stir in black olives and cheese until cheese is melted.

6. Spread meat mixture evenly on refried beans.

7. Pour corn meal over hot meat mixture in 3 length wise strips, do not spread.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until corn meal top is golden brown and completely cooked through.

Serve warm with sour cream.