Thursday, December 2, 2010

Plastic-Free Recipe: Vegetable & Bean Tamale Pie

Ever since we did our plastic-free food week at the end of September, we have been striving to buy no foods in plastic.  Some weeks it has proven to be difficult (mainly because of traveling and the inability to not taking the time to plan ahead).  For the most part--like eating local--80-90% of our meals, including snacks, are plastic-free.

On Monday, I adapted one of my favorite recipes to make it plastic-free!!  (Well... almost... I still used canned tomatoes :/... but canning tomatoes is on my to do list for next year!!)  UPDATE: I've found diced tomatoes in glass jars!

Vegetable & Bean Tamale Pie 
adapted from America's Test Kitchen The Best Make Ahead Recipe

3 TBSP Vegetable Oil*
1 medium onion, minced
2 (28-oz) cans diced tomatoes, well drained, with 2 cups of juice reserved OR use fresh tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1 TBSP chili powder*
4 med. garlic cloves, minced
2-4 tsp minced chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
2 tsp minced fresh oregano leaves (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin*
2 cups dried beans*-- black, kidney and/or pinto beans. (I like to use all 3), soaked and cooked OR
         3 (15oz) cans of beans
2-3 ears of corn, cut off kernels from cobs
1 medium zucchini, cut into half-inch cubes
2 cups chopped or torn Kale (optional)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
4 tsp lime juice (2 limes)
Ground black pepper
Homemade cornbread (for topping)
Guacamole (for serving)

*bought in bulk
All veggies are organic and/or local.

Preheat oven to 375˚

**Heat oil in large Dutch oven over med-high heat.  Add onion and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes and sugar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes are very dried and browned, 10- 15 minutes.

Add chili powder, garlic, chipotles, oregano, and cumin.  Cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.  Stir in the reserved tomato juice, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Off heat, add beans, corn, zucchini, kale, cilantro and lime juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer bean and veggie mixture to a 9x13" baking dish.

**Make Cornbread Topping:

1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c yellow cornmeal
6 TBSP sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 c buttermilk (local and/or organic)
8 TBSP organic unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs

Whisk together the dry ingredients-- flour through baking soda-- in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients.  Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until no dry lumps remain.

**Spread the cornbread mixture evenly over the top of the veggie and bean filling, pushing it into the edges of the baking dish.  Then, pop it all in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cornbread is baked through and golden.

Serve with homemade guacamole!!  Seriously... SO YUMMY!!! :)

Tip:  This makes A LOT!  You can bake half and freeze the rest.  To do this all you have to do is use two 8x8" casserole dishes.  Divide the filling and topping into each dish evening.  Bake ONLY one.  The other cover with parchment paper and then aluminum foil.  The Tamale Pie can be frozen for up to a month.  To bake the frozen pie, let it sit at room temp. for 30 minutes.  Then bake, covered, for 20 minutes @ 375˚.  Uncover and bake until the cornbread topping is baked through and golden, about 40 minutes longer.