Tag Archives: tamale pie

Rip’s Tamale Pie


I grew up in a household of women who really couldn’t cook. Mostly because they didn’t really eat. My grandmother, the original health nut, ate like a bird and followed a diet designed by her a Chinese nutritionist, Dr. Dong, whom she regularly flew to San Francisco to see. He cured her arthritis, but he killed any hope of my having the quintessential cookie baking grandmother. Instead I was offered carob snacks and could graze off the alfalfa sprouts growing in the fridge.

My mother, despite her early attempts to be the perfect wife and mother, making us matching outfits and crocheting my baby blankets, steadfastly refused to learn to cook. When the microwave was invented, she was relieved from her kitchen duties once and for all. We were the first family on the block to have one, which I swear was a big as a regular oven. From then on I lived on a diet of Tab, Wheat Thins, and Stouffers’ Lasagna.

Given my early influences and clear genetic predisposition, it is almost miraculous that I went to culinary school and became a chef.

Despite their epicurean inadequacies, there is one thing that they could both make, and make well. So well in fact that generations have begged for this dish to be made for every family function. I have no idea where this recipe originated, but it has been refined and handed down in my family like a treasured heirloom.

Rip’s Tamale Pie

(feeds approx. 14)

2 pounds ground beef
8 XLNT Beef Tamales
3 14oz cans can petite dice tomatoes
2 14oz can fresh sweet corn
2 large onion diced
6 cloves garlic diced
4 c cheddar cheese
2 4oz can sliced black olives
2 tbsp cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook onions and garlic in olive oil until softened.
Add beef and cook through. Remove from heat.
Add corn & tomatoes. Stir to combine.
Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
Break up the tamales into small pieces. Mix in with meat and vegetables.
Mix in 1/2 of the cheese cheese.

Put in oiled casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and olives.

Let sit in fridge overnight – it’s amazing how much better it is if it
sits over night.

Bake for about 45 minutes at 350. Until cheese melts and casserole is
heated through.

Serve with warm corn tortillas.

You can also freeze the left overs and reheat in microwave.


Cook’s note:

XLNT Tamales are difficult to find outside of Southern California. They are amazingly good, but the recipe will not suffer if you use any brand of tamale, including fresh.

Tamale Pie


2 8-ounce tamales, sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices
2 tablespoons chopped green chilies
Small can chopped ripe olives
1 cup whole kernel corn, canned
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cups chili con carne, with beans
1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Place a layer of tamale slices in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole. Add in layers the chiles, olives, corn, onions, chile con carne with beans and the cheese. Top with a layer of the sliced tamales. Bake 30 to 40 minutes.

Serves 4 to 5
Preparation time: 1 HR
Approximate colories per serving: 520

Suggested Menu

Tamale Pie
Green Salad with Avocado Dressing
Whipped Gelatin Parfait

From the Kitchens of Dorothy Taylor
@copy; 1973 Curtin Publications, Inc. New York, NY Printed in U.S.A.