Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter-Time Tamale Pie

One of the best things about living in California is the plentitude of local fruits and vegetables we can get pretty much all year round. In the summer time, the farmers market in my town is THE place to be. The stands are always stocked with tons of zucchinis, peppers, and tomatoes. The winter months are a bit quieter, but offer a whole different array of produce – colorful squashes, tons of leafy greens, and lots of citrus. As much as I enjoy the summer produce, I actually think I enjoy Winter's creations even more. Something about those squashes and greens is so hearty and satisfying, especially when they mingle together in a warm dish.

I usually make this tamale pie with zucchini and peppers, but this time I decided to try a variation: butternut squash and kale; and let me tell you: this is better than the summer version. A key component of the deliciousness of a tamale pie is the cornbread-like topping, but I could seriously eat just the filling and call it dinner, happily.

Butternut Squash and Kale Tamale Pie

*1 large butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1 inch cubes
*2 Tb olive oil
*1 large onion, diced
*4 cloves garlic, minced
*1 bunch kale, with large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped
*3 cups (or 2 15 oz. cans) cooked beans (pinto, black, kidney, I used pinto)
*1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
*1 tablespoon cumin
*2 teaspoons coriander
*1 teaspoon dried oregano
*salt and pepper to taste

*1 1/2 cup cornmeal
*2 Tb flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*2 eggs, beaten
*1 cup buttermilk
*2 tablespoons melted butter

For the Filling:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking pan. Add the squash and toss to coat. Roast the squash 35 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onions, and cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Add the kale and cook for about 2-3 minutes until tender. Add the roasted squash and cook for about 3 minutes. Add beans and diced tomatoes. Stir in cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, and pepper. Heat for about 3 minutes.
4. Spread filling into lightly oiled 9x13 glass dish. Sprinkle cheese on top.

For the Topping:
1. Mix cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
3. Evenly spread the batter over the filling.
4. Bake 20 min or until top is lightly browned.


  1. This tamal pie looks so healthy. I've been wanting to make tamal pie for a long time. Thanks for posting this!

  2. I'm such a sucker for butternut squash recipes. I have one left in the fridge and just can't decide what to make with it. I'll add this to my bookmarks.... it sounds delicious. And healthy!

  3. It looks fantastic! Wholesome and delicious!

  4. Super recipe! Healthy and I love the butternut squash and kale additions!

  5. I've made a different version of this, but yours looks very good! And kale (suspiciously) is one of the things my picky husband likes!

  6. I'm an admirer of those cooks who are fearless in the kitchen and make recipes their "own". Wow, I never would have thought of this combination in a hundred years for a tamale pie. It DOES look and sound delicious. Well done!

  7. I've never had tamale pie. It looks like I'm missing out!

  8. I also have never had tamale pie. It sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. I think someone around here really likes butternut squash. What do you all think?

  10. Love the squash kale combination -- it's something about the sweet and earthy flavors together that just... works!! We like to make a casserole with kale, squash, and corn -- it's a winning combination. Gotta remember this the next time I'm craving tamale pie!

  11. This sounds AMAZING!! I love the squash and kale in it!

  12. I have never heard of tamale pie but it sounds delicious with the spices and the cornmeal topping. YUM!

  13. I am DEFINITELY more of a winter veggie person myself. Butternut squash is one of the loves of my life. I definitely need to try this, since cornbread topping is another obsession of mine.

    Gorgeous photos by the way!

  14. This is such a great blog! Emiko told me about it yesterday and I wasted no time in trying some of your recipes. Tonight we had the squash tamale pie with mini pecan tarts (shaped like hearts). I halved the tamale recipe and made it in a smaller pan, but with the full amount of topping for an extra thick crust. Soooo goooood!

  15. Memoria - Thanks! Tamale pie is a quick alternative to the tamales you made. Those looked fantastic!

    Mags - Thanks! I LOVE butternut squash too.

    Ju - Thanks!

    Barbara - Thanks!

    CakeWalk - I'd be interested in seeing your version of this recipe.

    Katy - I wouldn't call myself fearless in the kitchen, but there are some recipes I like to make my own. Thanks!

    Barbara - Thanks you should definitely try it!

    Karine - Thanks! I hope you try it soon!

    Peludo - Yup, I LOVE butternut squash!

    Lo - Thanks! Your casserole sounds delicious too!

    Jennifer - Thanks! Butternut squash and kale make a nice combination.

    Marcellina - Thanks! The spices and cornmeal really add a lot to this dish!

    Joanne - woohoo for winter vegetables. I think butternut squash is my fave. Thanks!!

    Talia - I'm SO glad you tried and liked the recipes! That is so nice to hear!