Why novel? Because the cornmeal is mixed in, not made into cornbread batter and spread on top. Well, that and the fact that this food memory comes from one of the characters in my novel.
Fran’s Tamale Pie
From the kitchen of Libby McCormack Cooper
While this wasn’t necessarily my favorite thing when I was growing, it now definitely qualifies as comfort food. I’ve adapted it a bit here–using Rotele tomatoes makes up for other seasoning–but it’s still pretty much as my mom made it. We like it topped with a little sour cream and served on a bed of shredded lettuce. Mom served it with a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with a dollop of mayo that she called a “salad.” Times and food tastes have changed.
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 regular can of Rotele tomatoes with the added chilies, with liquid
1 regular can of corn, with liquid
1 regular can of whole or sliced large black olives, drained
yellow cornmeal (approximately ¾ to 1 cup)
1 cup or more shredded cheddar
- Brown the meat with onion. Drain.
- Add the contents of all the cans. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Start sprinkling corn meal in the while stirring. Just add in small amounts until the mixture thickens and the boil bubbles make a very distinctive pfff sound. There is no exact measurement for this. Sorry. As soon as it pfffs, remove from heat.
- Grease or spray a 9×13 baking pan. Scoop the mixture in and smooth it. Or if you are using an ovenproof skillet, you can save washing up an extra pan.
- Sprinkle top generously with cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. It does not have to bake long because it is already hot.