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Pumpkin Tamale Pie

Pumpkin Tamale Pie

It’s late October: are we done with pumpkin yet? Noooooooooo! Okay, not just yet.

Put together the comfort of tamales with the earthy flavors of Autumn produce, and you have a warming, cozy dish that is just impressive enough to serve guests without all the labor of tamales. Pumpkin adds great, fat-free, beta-carotene rich moisture to the masa dough crust while not being too assertive with its flavor.  This Pumpkin Tamale Pie is naturally gluten-free and can be modified to add anything you’d like inside the filling: more hot peppers (or none at all), kale in the place of Swiss chard, dairy-free cheese, and so on, but I liked this just as it was. While it takes a little more effort than most of the recipes I post here, it’s still easy for a novice and I think it’s one of those dishes you will still want to make over and over. This is perfect potluck food, too. You can find masa harina - made from hominy - in the Latin section of most grocery stores.

Serves four.

Tamale crust:
2 cups masa harina
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 T. olive oil (optional)
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth, warm

Pie filling:
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 T. broth, divided
2 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
1 - 2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes (to taste)
3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 2 jalapenos, minced and seeds removed to your preference (more seeds will make it hotter)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced, seeds removed
2 T. tamari
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into ribbons
3 cups aduki or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 lime

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Find a 8-inch square pan and a larger rectangular pan, like 9-X-13. Fill the large pan with about two inches of water and put that in the oven to warm up. Grease the square pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl (I used a glass measuring cup), add a small amount of warm stock to the pumpkin and stir to integrate. Add the optional olive oil, the rest of the stock and stir to combine. Pour this into the masa dough, mixing with a large spoon or a whisk until fully combined. The dough should be soft.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add two tablespoons of broth. Let this heat for a minute, then add the onion and spices, stirring for three - four minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper and sauté for about five minutes. Add the butternut squash cubes, tamari and two tablespoons of broth. Cook until the butternut squash is easily pierced with a fork but is not mushy, about 12 - 14 minutes. (Stir frequently to prevent sticking!) Add the Swiss chard (you may need to do this in stages in order for it to all fit in your pan) and beans until the chard is wilted, a few minutes. Turn off the heat and squeeze a lime on top, stirring through.

Divide the masa dough in half. Put half on the bottom of the square pan and press it in. Add the filling to the pan, pushing down with the flat side of the spatula to make it flat on top. Press the rest of the masa dough on top and cover tightly with foil

Put this pan in the larger pan with water that is now hot (be careful!). Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 - 15 minutes, Cut into squares and sprinkle on optional toasted pumpkin seeds (put these in the oven in a pie plate for the last 7 minutes of baking the tamale pie, shaking half way); garnish with dairy-free sour cream, hot sauce, salsa and more.


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