Cumin Scented Tamale Bake

30 Sep

This is one of my new family favorites.  All the ingredients are likely to be in the kitchen, and there are easy substitutions if not.  If you like a thick cornbread layer, use a smaller dish (8×8 or 9×9).  For a thinner layer, try a 9×13 pan.   The recipe could easily be doubled and baked in two pans for a crowd.

Check your chili powder ingredients – if it doesn’t list salt, you’ll need to add more to the tamale filling.  The toasted cumin gives the dish a great flavor, but if all you’ve got is pre-ground, by all means use that.  To toast, add the whole seeds to a dry skillet and heat over medium 5-10 minutes until fragrant.  Keep watch!  They’ll go from perfect to burnt in an instant.

Cumin Scented Tamale Bake

Tamale Filling:

  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 medium sweet pepper, minced
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
  • salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 can black or kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, or 1 1/2 c fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Cumin Cornbread Topping

  • 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c yellow cornmeal
  • 3 T  sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T butter, melted and cooled

For the tamale filling: Cook ground beef or turkey in a large skillet until browned.  Drain off fat and discard.  Add onions and peppers to the skillet, cooking until soft.  Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin, and cook 30 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes, beans,vinegar, and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer.  If it looks dry, add a little water.  Stir in the cheddar and transfer to a greased  baking dish.

Heat oven to 450°.

For the cornbread topping: Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cumin in a large bowl.  Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl.  Add the buttermilk mixture all at once to the cornbread mixture and stir until just combined.  Stir in the melted butter.

Spread the cornbread batter evenly over the tamale filling.  Bake until cornbread is cooked through, 10-15 minutes.


One Response to “Cumin Scented Tamale Bake”

  1. Carla Lemons October 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm #


    This Tamale bake was a big hit that the Daddy and Me class last Saturday! The kids and Dad both loved it and its a good “make ahead dish” leaving the cornmeal topping off until ready to bake.


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