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Happy Siete de Mayo! I intended to make shepherd’s pie this past weekend, but was inspired by Cinco de Mayo to mix things up. Having masa harina in the house since making vegan tamales, I entertained the idea of making tamale pie instead. Then it hit me: combining the two – a tamale “crust” with a spicy lentil filling, topped with creamy mashed potatoes. Shepherd’s Tamale Pie was born.
The challenge was deciding how to cook the masa crust. Tamales are steamed, not baked, and I wanted to keep as authentic a taste as possible. After a little online research, I decided to bake my pie in a water bath, followed by a short stint under the broiler to brown the top.
Shepherd’s Tamale Pie
- 1 dozen small red potatoes
- 2 tbsp vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 cup masa harina
- 1 1/2 cups veg broth
- 1/8 cup corn oil
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, chopped small
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 2 tbsp finely chopped Anaheim or other semi-mild chile
- 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used Imagine “No-Chicken”)
- 1 can lentils
- 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, chopped fine plus 1 tbsp of the adobe mixture
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- chili powder
- salt & pepper
Prepare potato topping my chopping potatoes and boiling them until soft. Mash with margarine and almond milk – adding enough milk to make mixture smooth, but not runny. Salt & pepper to taste and set aside.
Prepare pie crust by combining masa harina, veg broth, corn oil and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Mix into a stiff dough and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil on medium high in a large frying pan. Sautee carrot for 3-4 minutes, then add onion, mushrooms, Anaheim chiles and frozen corn. Cook until onion begins to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add wine and scrape pan to incorporate any browned bits into the mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until wine is absorbed, about 3-4 minutes. Add lentils and turn heat down to medium. Add broth, tomato sauce, chopped chipotle and adobe sauce. Cook 3-4 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Taste and add chili powder, salt & pepper to taste. You may also want to add additional adobo sauce for more heat.
Grease a large pie dish. Press masa dough into the bottom of the dish and up along the sides, as you would with a pie crust. Place lentil mixture into the crust. Top with mashed potatoes, covering the filling completely.
Put 2 inches of water into a large roasting pan or casserole dish. Put the pie dish into the pan with water, cover the entire thing with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour or until masa dough sets. Turn on broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown the top of the potatoes.
Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.
If you want to top a slice with a bit of spicy salsa and Tofutti sour cream, I won’t tell.