Learn How to Make Homemade Cheesy Beef Tamale Pie
I love handmade tamales. I’ve made them a handful of times myself, and they are awesome. But so incredibly labor intensive. I mean, I love cooking and all, but I just don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen making tamales. So I buy them now. Or hope a friend’s mom makes a batch while I’m around (never happens).
Until now! Well , not really, we are still not making tamales, but we ARE making cheesy beef tamale pie. Maybe it’s not the same thing, but it’s close enough for me. And it’s so much easier. Plus we get to use our trusty cast iron skillet! I have really learned to love that thing. And, well, cheese.
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So what’s in this cheesy beef tamale pie you ask? Well, maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Cheesy beef (did I really have to spell that out? Just like to hear myself talk I guess). Delicious, rich homemade masa. That’s really it. You thought it was going to be more complex? Nah, there’s some steps involved, but nothing crazy. They key to this cheesy beef tamale pie is the masa. Get it to the right consistency, and you’re golden. Don’t worry, it’s not hard. Ready? Ok, let’s make this stuff.
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In large mixing bowl, combine the masa harina and the chicken broth. Then add the lard, salt, and baking powder.
Beat the ingredients on medium with a mixer for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture doubles (or comes close). The masa should have a creamy, whipped texture. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
Now for the cheesy beef mixture. This part is super simple.
Brown the ground beef. Add the onions to the beef and cook until soft.
Add the green chilies, salt, pepper and cumin and cook for 1 minute. I prefer to use fresh ground cumin. It makes a world of difference in the flavor. But your regular old pre-ground cumin will work fine in a pinch. If you’ve never tried fresh ground spices, I encourage you to try – it makes a huge difference!
Add the enchilada sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the beef is cooking, combine the cream and Velveeta in a bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until you have a creamy cheese sauce.
Add the cheese sauce to the beef mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Mixture should be thick and cheesy when done.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the cast iron skillet with shortening, lard, or non-stick spray. I use non-stick spray because I’m lazy. Spread half of the masa on the bottom of the pan.
Add the beef mixture. Spread the remaining masa dough on top. It’s best to use your fingers to place little pieces at a time on top of the beef because the masa will not spread particularly well. Just piece it together. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but it’s the hardest part of this recipe. Everything else is a piece of cake (or cheesy beef tamale pie?). I know, I’ve definitely made that lame joke before.
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