Back in the 1950s when this recipe was popular, we knew very little about Mexican cooking. We put catsup and tabasco sauce on our tacos, for Pete's sake, and the tacos were something new my mom made from a recipe in Sunset Magazine!
The only tamales we ever saw were in a can from Hormel, so this tamale pie was considered a big improvement. Even though we now love the tamales made in homes here in New Mexico by groups of friends or family working assembly-line fashion and making dozens for holiday eating or freezing, this recipe still counts as comfort food in my family.
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
3/4 lb. ground beef
2 8-oz. cans seasoned tomato sauce (2 cups)
1 12-oz. can corn, drained (you may use frozen corn, of course--it was pretty newfangled when this recipe was first written)
1 cup chopped ripe olives
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tsp. chile powder
Dash of pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups of cold water
1 tbl. butter
Cook onion and green pepper in a little olive oil until tender.
Add meat; brown lightly.
Add the next 7 ingredients. Simmer 20-25 minutes until thick.
Add the cheese and stir until melted.
Pour into greased oblong 10" x 6" baking dish.
Make the cornmeal topper: Stir cornmeal and salt into cold water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick. Add the butter and mix well. Spoon over the hot meat mixture in 3 lengthwise strips.
Bake casserole at 375˚ about 40 minutes. Makes 6 servings.