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Mexican Tamale Pie (Cazuela de Tamal) With Black Bean Filling


Mexican braise, chili, or stewed vegetables. If using a meat, make sure it is shredded or ground, since large chunks of meat won't make an even layer of filling.

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  • For the Masa:
  • 1 pound (3 cups) masa harina para tamales (see note above)
  • 3 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or water
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) cold lard or Crisco
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • .
  • For the Filling (see note above):
  • 2 ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked black beans (from four 15-ounce cans or 2/3 pound dried black beans simmered until tender)
  • Kosher salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil, for greasing
  • Hot sauce and salsa verde, for serving



Step 1

In a large mixing bowl, combine masa harina and broth. Stir until thoroughly incorporated.

Combine lard, salt, and baking powder and, using an electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until lightly whipped, about 1 minute.

Add 1/4 of the re-hydrated masa at a time to the lard, beating between additions until thoroughly incorporated. The masa should be soft and spreadable, with a hummus-like texture.

Cover masa with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, For the Filling: Microwave ancho chilies until fragrant and pliable, 15 to 30 seconds. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, add broth, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave on high power until barely simmering, about 3 minutes. Let steep for at least 5 minutes.

In a skillet, heat lard over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add beans and cook until heated through. Using a potato masher, bean masher, or wooden spoon, mash beans to form a chunky puree. Stir in ancho mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Assembly and Baking: Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove masa from refrigerator, discard plastic, and re-whip, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to return it to original hummus-like texture. Lightly grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray or oil, wiping up any excess.

Scrape 2/3 of masa into skillet and press to form an even thin layer on bottom and edge of pan.

Add 2 cups of black bean filling, smoothing to an even layer. Save any remaining filling for another use.

Gently form a top crust with remaining 1/3 masa, binding it with edge. Wipe any masa residue from rim of skillet. Bake tamale pie until cooked through and lightly golden on top, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool slightly, then slice and serve, passing hot sauce and salsa verde at the table.

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