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Tamale Pie Casserole

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James Beard Award winner and City Grocery chef John Currence crafted this belly-filling casserole that celebrates one of his favorite foods—tamales—with beef braised in Dos Equis Dark and beer in the batter, too.

Makes: 8

  • Dark Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder
  • 1 3-pound bone-in pork roast
  • 4 cups Dos Equis Dark
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced thin
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 112 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
  • 12 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoon coriander
  • ---
  • Tamale Batter
  • 214 cups chicken broth
  • 112 cups buttermilk
  • 12 cup Dos Equis Amber
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 34 cup whole-kernel corn
  • 12 cup masa
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 112 teaspoons salt
  • ---
  • Casserole Filling
  • 2 cups chopped braised pork shoulder
  • 114 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup green or red bell pepper
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, chopped
  • 12 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 14 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoon black pepper
  • zest and juice of 1 lime


• Braise the pork shoulder up to two days in advance. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees, and combine the salt, pepper, cumin, Ancho powder, coriander and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside. Rinse the pork shoulder, pat dry and rub generously with the spice mix.

• In a roasting pan or Dutch oven large enough to hold the pork roast, heat the olive oil on a stove until almost smoking. Place the pork in the pan, brown on all sides and remove to a plate on the side. In the same pan, add the garlic and onion, and sauté until transparent.

• Return the pork to the pan and stir in the beer, loosening the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the beef stock, bring to a simmer, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and braise in the oven for 4 hours, or until the meat falls away from the bone.

• When you’re ready to assemble the casserole, heat the butter until melted in a medium pot. Sauté the garlic, onion and peppers until transparent. Add the tomato, salt, pepper, lime zest and juice and simmer until the tomato has cooked down to a sauce and begun to dry. Roughly chop 2 cups of the braised pork and stir into the sauce until well-combined, remove the pot from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro.

• Make the tamale dough. In a saucepan, combine the buttermilk, water and beer and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cornmeal, salt, pepper, sugar and chili powder, and stir until very thick. Remove the mixture from heat, stir in the butter and sour cream, and let stand 3 minutes, stirring to cool. Blend in the egg and set aside.

• Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and pour half of the tamale batter in the skillet, or enough to fill it 1/3 deep. Spoon the pork filling onto the batter (the pork should fill the pan 2/3 deep) and sprinkle half of the Cheddar cheese over the filling. Cover the cheese layer with the rest of the cornmeal batter and sprinkle the remaining Cheddar on top. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the casserole comes out clean.


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