Recipe: Beef and Bean Tamale Pie


  • 3 quarts and ½ cup dry pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 pounds 8 ounces raw Michigan ground beef (no more than 15% fat)
  • 2 ⅔ cups fresh onions, chopped
  • ¼ cups fresh green bell peppers
  • ¼ cups fresh red bell peppers
  • 1 quart frozen corn
  • ½ cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 quart 1 cup water
  • 3 cups (¼ #10 can) canned no salt added tomato paste
  • 1 quart 2 ¼ cups (½ #10 can) canned no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart 2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cups white whole grain oatmeal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ⅔ cup frozen whole eggs, thawed
  • ½ cups nonfat milk
  • ½ cup canola oil


Place pinto beans in a pot and add 10 cups water for every 2 cups of beans. Heat to boiling and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 4 to 24 hours. Drain beans, discard soak water and rinse with fresh, cool water.

Combine all spices in a bowl. Stir well.

Place ground beef and half of spices in a medium stock pot. Heat over medium high heat uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes. Stir often until meat is well done. (Critical Control Point: Heat to 165°F or higher for at least 15 seconds.) Remove beef from heat. Drain beef in a colander. Set aside.

Return pot back to heat. Add pinto beans, onions, peppers, corn, cilantro, and remaining spices. Stir for 30 seconds. Add water. After one minute reduce heat to low. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes and drained ground beef. Stir well. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. (Critical Control Point: Heat to 165°F or higher for at least 15 seconds.) If desired, prepare ground beef mixture ahead and refrigerate overnight.

Fold cheese into beef and bean mixture. Pour 1 gallon (about 9 pounds 8 ounces) mixture into two steam table pans (12" x 20" x 2 ½"). (Critical Control Point: Cool to 41°F or lower within 4 hours.)

For cornbread topping: Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a commercial mixer (batch as needed). Using a paddle attachment, mix for 1 minute on low speed.

Combine eggs, milk, and oil in a large bowl. Stir well. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed.

Cool meat mixture slightly before pouring batter on top. Pour 2 pounds 4 ounces (3 ¾ cups) batter over cooled meat mixture in each pan and spread into corners of pan.

Bake until lightly browned. Conventional oven: 400°F for 30 to 35 minutes. Convection oven: 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool for 10 minutes. Cut each pan 5 x 5 (25 pieces per pan).

Yield: 50 servings

Recipe courtesy of What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.