As I type, my dad is driving his way across the country from Cali back here to Florida with my grandmother. My grandfather passed in February and my grandma has decided she'd like to live near us-so they're on their way back here. My grandmother is artistic, fun loving, active and makes the BEST tamale pie. It's so good that I rarely try to make it myself, but I did this weekend. I can't even begin to tell you how insanely good this is. Go. try it. Make 2 pans cause you'll be eating thirds.
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup cold water
3 1/2 cups boiling water or chicken stock
2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons butter
4 cups cooked cornmeal mush
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chili powder or to taste
3 tablespoons butter or oil
4 cups cooked ground beef
1 1/2 cup black pitted olives
To cook cornmeal mush: stir 1 cup of cornmeal into 1/2 cup cold water to moisten it, in the top of a double boiler. Then add 3 1/2 cups boiling water or chicken stock and 2 tsps salt; mix well. Set the top over the bottom of the boiler, filled with 1 to 2 inches of boiling water, put a lid on the top and steam the cornmeal for 30 to 45 minutes until the water is all absorbed.
For tamale pie: Beat butter into hot cooked cornmeal; set aside. Fry onion and garlic with chili powder in 3 Tbsp butter or oil until onion is just slightly softened, 2 or 3 minutes. Add cooked meat, olives and season to taste. Put a layer of cornmeal mush in a baking dish, add the layer of meat filling and cover with another layer of mush. Bake in preheated 350F oven until the mush is crusty on top, about 30 minutes.