‘The Pioneer Woman’: Ree Drummond’s Easy Tamale Pie Is a Perfect Comfort Food Recipe

Ree Drummond loves a good comfort food recipe and her tamale pie is a perfect example of a hearty and delicious dish she said is a Drummond family favorite. The Pioneer Woman star calls her recipe a “scrumptious shortcut pie.”

The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond smiles standing a kitchen counter wearing a printed purple shirt on the set of 'Today'
Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ree Drummond’s tamale pie recipe has an easy secret ingredient

Drummond wrote about a version of her tamale pie recipe in a blog post on The Pioneer Woman website. “Heat up the oven! It’s time for a family meal idea guaranteed to please everyone at the table: tamale pie,” she wrote. “It’s Tex-Mex comfort food at its finest, because nothing is more comforting than ground beef and cheese freshly baked in a warm, savory pie.”

The Food Network host continued, “But we’ve added a secret ingredient into the mix. Corn muffin mix is the secret to this scrumptious shortcut pie!”

She added, “And then, it’s so easy to make: Throw everything together in a cast-iron skillet and cook it until the cornbread topping is golden brown, and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Yum!”

How to make Ree Drummond’s tamale pie

Drummond demonstrated how to make a tamale pie recipe on an episode of The Pioneer Woman dedicated to “comforting make-ahead meals.”

“Here on the ranch, Tex-Mex is always a good idea, so I’m making a tamale pie in an iron skillet,” she said. “Boy oh boy, if you’ve never had a tamale pie, you have got to try this.”

Drummond started making a filling by browning ground beef in a skillet, then removed the meat. She added chopped onions, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and pablano pepper to the pan, as well as garlic, chili powder, and cumin. The Pioneer Woman star cooked the mixture until the onions and peppers were softened.

“This is a really versatile recipe,” she said. “You can do all bell peppers if that’s what you have. You can use canned roasted chiles if you want. Really anything you want to throw in there is fine.”

Drummond added canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and beef broth, stirred everything together, and added a can of kidney beans. She returned the beef to the pan.

“This makes an enormous pie,” Drummond explained. “You can use a smaller skillet and cut it in half, if that suits your household size. I have never had any of this go to waste, so I always make a great big pan.”

The Food Network host allowed the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes then let the filling cool.

‘The Pioneer Woman’ star made a masa crust for the pie

In this version of tamale pie, Drummond made masa dough for the crust by stirring together chicken broth and masa in a bowl. She added shortening, butter, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer and beat the ingredients together. Drummond added the masa mixture in three batches, beating it well after each addition.

She covered the mixture and chilled it in the refrigerator.

The Pioneer Woman star placed a layer of masa in the bottom of a skillet, topped it with the filling, and added a top layer of the masa dough. She spread the topping almost to the edge. “The surface does not have to be perfect,” she explained. “It’s supposed to be a nice, rustic pie.”

Drummond baked the tamale pie uncovered in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 50 minutes and served it with a simple green salad.

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

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