I have owned Moosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites for about six or seven years, and their Tamale Pie has been one of my favorite kidney bean dishes for all that time (I have never tasted a proper tamale, so it might be helpful for those of you in the know to expect a spicy bean-and-vegetable casserole topped with low-fat cornbread since that is what this is) and yet it was only when making it last week that I realized I haven't been following the recipe AT ALL.
As it happens, I've been pretty much doubling all the vegetables - bell peppers, zucchini, carrots - (NO WONDER I always felt the need to double the seasoning!) while keeping to the prescribed amount of topping. Of course I set to rectify things immediately by doubling the cornmeal-eggwhite-buttermilk topping as well. Frankly, I shouldn't have bothered: it works far better with just a thin layer of "cornbread" barely covering the veggies. This way there's about as much topping as there is casserole, and that's just... wrong.
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites, the amounts below are the ones I've used normally.
2 tsp olive oilCook the onions and garlic in the olive oil, covered, on medium heat, for ~10 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, oregano and enough water to prevent sticking, and the carrots, cover, cook for 5 min. Add bell peppers, zucchini & chili, cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and beans, cover, cook for 10 minutes. (If it looks very wet, remove the cover half-way through.) Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
3-4 medium onions, chopped
3 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
1½ tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2-3 medium carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
(about 2 cups each of all veggies)
1-2 medium chiles, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups pinto, black or kidney beans
salt & pepper to taste
grated cheddar (the recipe calls for low-fat, but if I'm that desperate for healtfulness I'll just omit the cheese completely, thank you)
¾ cup cornmeal
1 tbsp unbleached white flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
2 egg whites, beaten
½ cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tsp canola oil
Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray and spread the vegetable mixture on the bottom, sprinkle cheese on top.
In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix together the beaten egg whites, buttermilk and oil. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed. Pour the batter over the vegetable mixture, pressing it down a little with a spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 200°C (400°F), until the top is golden.
Variations: I'm sure some jalapenos would go very well in the casserole, and I've been meaning to destroy the vegetarian pureness with bacon or chorizo, but somehow I never seem to get around to it.