Traditional tamales are always a favorite this time of the year. But the process can be incredibly time-consuming. Lucia Schnitzer of Luci’s Healthy Marketplace in Phoenix has created a tasty tamale pie (not served at Luci’s) made straight from the crock-pot that saves time and energy but gives diners the same great taste and warm-cozy feeling.
Crock-pot Tamale Pie
1 pound ground meat (beef, turkey or chicken)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained (optional: red bell pepper)
1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1⁄4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 package (81⁄2 ounces) cornbread/muffin mix
1 cup shredded vegan Mexican cheese blend Sour cream (vegan) and additional minced fresh cilantro (optional)
In a large skillet, cook ground meat over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in cumin, salt, chili powder and pepper. Transfer to a 4-quart slow cooker; stir in the beans, tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce, onions and cilantro. In a separate bowl, combine muffin mix and eggs. When finished, pour evenly over the filling, spreading with a spatula if needed. Cover and cook on low for 4-7 hours or on high for 2-4 (because some slow cookers cook differently, check at the 3-hour or 5-hour mark using a fork to determine if cornbread is thoroughly cooked). Sprinkle with vegan cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with vegan sour cream and additional cilantro if desired. Makes 8 servings. Note: This recipe can be made vegetarian by omitting the ground meat.