Magazine article Sunset

Our Tamale Pie Needed a Major Overhaul

Magazine article Sunset

Our Tamale Pie Needed a Major Overhaul

Article excerpt

ONE OF THE TRICKS TO lightening up your favorite recipes, aside from simply reducing the fat, is to change the flavor as little as possible. This can be difficult, especially with recipes that need major overhauls to lower fat and calorie content.

Such was the case with our mucbil-pollo, the Yucatan tamale pie featured on page 104 of the May 1980 Sunset. With 1 1/3 cups of lard in the thick masa crust, the recipe weighed in at a whopping 1,300 calories per serving!

We eliminated the lard and put the crust on top of the filling instead of around it. The result, which is 75 percent learner, looks more like a cobbler than a tamale pie. But, by keeping the achiote condiment in the filling and the masa flour in the crust, the updated dish retains much of its authentic flavor.

Accompany the pie with a lean, refreshing salad of grapefruit segments and orange and apple slices, dressed to taste with lime juice, minced cilantro, and salt.

Lightened-up Yucatan

Tamale Pie

Buy the rust-hued achiote condiment in Hispanic markets, or use the substitute.

3 ounces achiote condiment or achiote substitute (recipe follows)

2 cups regular-strength chicken broth

2 tablespoons minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves

1/8 teaspoon anise seed

3 cups skinned and boned cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

2 large (about 1 1/4 lb. total) onions, chopped

2 large (about 1 lb. total) tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

Masa topping (recipe follows)

Cilantro (coriander) sprigs

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine the achiote condiment with 1/2 cup broth. …

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