Chicken, pumpkin & black bean tamale pie

by Jenny Chandler

Quintessential Mexican flavours brought together in a wholly untraditional pie

Quintessential Mexican flavours, but there’s nothing traditional about this pie: the corn topping hails from the American south-west, while the filling is a great way to feed a crowd with a small amount of chicken and heaps of smoky flavour.

For more ways with chicken, read Jenny’s latest instalment of Batch of the day


500g roughly chopped pumpkin or squash flesh 
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
½-1 tsp chilli powder
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can black beans
A large bunch of fresh coriander
200g cooked chicken, ripped into small pieces
2 limes

For the crust:
750ml chicken stock
200ml milk
200g masa harina, cornmeal or even polenta
150g grated mature cheddar
100g butter
150ml sour cream


Preheat the oven to 190C. Roast the squash in the oven with half of the olive oil until softened and beginning to caramelise.

Meanwhile, take a large pan (if you have an oven-proof frying or sauté pan then this could work as your pie dish later too) and fry the diced onion in the remaining olive oil until soft and translucent.

Throw in the garlic, cumin, paprika, chilli and stir until the fragrance hits you. Tip in the tomatoes and the drained black beans and leave to simmer for a few mins.

Now chop the coriander stalks really finely and add these to the pot, reserving the leaves for garnish and to use elsewhere.

Add the roasted pumpkin and the cooked chicken to the pot and balance the seasoning with salt and the juice of 1 lime.

Now for the crust: take a large saucepan and bring the chicken stock and milk up to the boil. Add the cornmeal in a steady stream (I find this easiest from a jug), stirring as you go. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little lumpy as it thickens, you can beat the lumps away as you stir. The time the corn takes to swell up will depend on the variety of cornmeal used—anything from 5 to 15 mins—you just want something of dropping consistency. If the mix seems rather thick, you can always add a splash of water.

Add most of the cheese and butter to the corn paste (keeping back a little to top the pie) and season well.

Now put your filling in a pie dish (or alternatively keep in the ovenproof pan) and spoon over the corn topping. Don’t worry if the filling bursts through in places, this is a rustic affair.

Top with the remaining cheese and butter and place in the hot oven for 30-40 mins until the top begins to brown.

Serve hot with the remaining lime cut into wedges, a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves and the sour cream.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler