Recipe courtesy of Justin Chapple

Spicy Pork Tamale Pie with Pickled Jalapeños

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
This American tamale pie features a spicy pork chili topped with a cornbread batter made using masa harina instead of cornmeal. The chili gets its heat from a combination of poblano and jalapeño peppers, while store-bought enchilada sauce gives it an extra boost of flavor with minimal effort. Before baking, the cornbread batter is studded with pickled jalapeños for extra tangy heat.





  1. Prepare the chili: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the pork and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the just starting to brown but not cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, poblanos, jalapeños, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just softened and the pork is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the enchilada sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes; stir in the corn kernels.  
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the cornbread: In a medium bowl, whisk the masa harina with the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and chicken broth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat vigorously until the batter is fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in 1/2 cup of the cheese.  
  4. With the chili off the heat, spoon the cornbread batter on top and gently spread it in an even layer. Scatter the pickled jalapeños over the batter, then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top. Bake the tamale pie until bubbling and the cornbread is risen, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve topped with hot sauce and sour cream.

Cook’s Note

Masa is the traditional dough used to make corn tortillas. It’s made from dried corn that has been nixtamalized, which is a process in which dried corn kernels are soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution to loosen the hulls and make the corn softer for grinding. Masa harina, on the other hand, is a flour that’s made from dried masa dough. Masa harina is commonly used to make corn tortillas, too, but it’s also used to make tamales, tamal de cazuela, pupusas and arepas.