Happy PI Day!


I love savory pies, and my new favorite is Tamale Pie. I love the layers of smoky and spicy flavors, how it allows for almost any type of meat and beans, fresh or frozen veggies, and can be vegetarian or even vegan. In honor of PI Day, I present my boyfriend’s favorite, full of spicy sausage with sweet corn for balance.

I was technically making pie for two, but I can’t ever seem to cook for less than six, so I made this as three 9″ pies and froze two for later. If you want to serve up to 10, this mixture also fills one pan that’s approximately 13″x9″x2″.

PI Day Tamale Pie
Copyright 2016 by Lauren Bradford (aka The Food Puzzler)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes stovetop + 1 hour baking time
Serves: 10-12


5-6 sausages of choice, meat removed from casings
1 small onion, rough chop
1 plum tomato, rough chop
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup cooked beans of choice, rinsed
1 bag frozen corn
3 bell peppers, large dice
2 cups masa harina (maseca) + 1 teaspoon salt
2 small or 1 large jalapeño, thin slice (optional)
NOTE: USE PLASTIC FOOD SAFE GLOVES for slicing and arranging jalapeños. Take it from someone who once got a little jalapeño juice accidentally in her eye, these gloves are your best friend!


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauté pan, set to medium heat, cook the sausage completely, crumbling as you cook. Sausage is generally fatty enough on its own that you won’t need to add extra to the pan to prevent sticking, but if you do, add only 1 teaspoon at a time.

2. Remove the cooked sausage using a slotted spoon to keep most of the sausage’s residual fat in the pan. Place in a large bowl. Then, to the sauté pan, add the onion, tomato and spices to the pan, along with 1/4 cup warm water. Combine and cook 5 minutes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan to incorporate the flavor

3. Add in the cabbage and 1/4 cup water if needed, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Stir to combine, then transfer everything but residual liquid to the bowl with the sausage.

4. Add the corn, beans and bell peppers to the pan and cook 5 minutes, adding 1/4 cup warm water and scrape again if needed. Transfer to the same bowl and combine all ingredients completely.

5. Transfer to the pans you’re using. As noted above, this recipe makes three pies if using standard 9″ pie pans, which is handy for freezing some for future mealtimes. However, if you are planning to serve it all at once, this mixture also fills one that’s approximately 13″x9″x2″.

6. Once you’ve transferred everything out of the bowl, put in the maseca, the other teaspoon of salt, and three cups of water. Stir thoroughly, smushing out any lumps. The batter will be liquidy and this is what you want.

7. Pour this mixture over the top(s) of the pie pan(s) and smooth. Then, arrange the slices of jalapeños on top. I alternated the jalapeño slices with hot sauce above, but both of these toppings are optional. If you don’t like heat, reserve some bell pepper slices instead.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until the mixture bubbles up on the edge of the crust.

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