Tamale Pie in the Crockpot

When temperatures are high and it’s too hot for the oven, I like to use the crockpot as it barely emits heat, and any prep can be done early morning while it’s still cool. This is one dish that I have previously cooked in the oven. I wanted to try it in the crockpot, as we were craving it on a hot day! So, I did a little research and the resulting food was excellent! Deliciously spicy and sweet!
Tamale pie is an American invention, based on the hot tamales from Mexico. Right from the first time trying it, it became a favorite that’s on repeat! It’s easy to make and by using a large slow cooker, there are plenty of leftovers. It is also great if you want to feed a lot of people! You can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less chili paste. I can never decide if it is the spices or the sweetness of the cornbread topping that makes it so addictive!

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WINE NOTE: I would generally pair a robust Zinfandel with this, such as Chronic Cellars from California. It’s big, chewy, and satisfying. Meanwhile, it’s smoothness tempers the spices and handles the sweetness. 


1 Tbs ground cumin
2 lbs ground beef / 1 kg minced beef
1 large yellow onion (if in the UK use 3 onions) finely chopped
1 green bell pepper diced
2 tbs chili pepper
2 tbs cornmeal
1 can (14oz /400g) chopped tomatoes
1/8 cup chilli paste or to taste
1/8 cup ketchup or tomato paste
1 can sweetcorn

Heat a large non stick skillet on medium to high heat. Place the beef and chopped onions and fry, stirring frequently breaking up the meat, for aproximately 8 minutes, until the onion is softened and the beef browned.
Stir in the cumin, green pepper, chill powder and cornmeal and continue to cook for another 4 minutes until the pepper has softened.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, chili paste, tomato ketchup or paste, sweetcorn and season with salt.
Pour into the crockpot and cook on low for about 3 hours.

Cornbread Topping
1 cup / 140g cornmeal
1 cup / 140g all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (Bicarbonate of soda)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup /250ml buttermilk (or regular milk with a dash of lemon juice)

Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and soda in a bowl.
In a jug, beat the eggs, oil and buttermilk then pour into the dry ingredients and stir to blend.
Pour into the crockpot over the meat and TURN UP TO HIGH. Leave the lid slightly open to let ou the steam and cook for 1 hour. Check with a toothpick or by pressing gently with your fingers, if firm, to touch then its ready.


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