Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cornbread Crusted Pie

I don't often cook for a large number of people, so when I do, I am all about the casseroles. When we decided to have a family birthday party for my husband at our place, I turned, appropriately, to The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever for ideas. This one practically jumped off the page. I changed a few things, most importantly the use of ground turkey instead of beef, and fresh corn instead of frozen (after all, I just got two beautiful ears in my CSA bag this week). The result is this tasty, shepherd's pie-esque casserole that everyone seemed very happy with.

The cornbread crust is fantastic. It's crisp on top and soft inside, and has a great balance of sweet and savory - everything that good cornbread should be. The meat filling is lovely, filled with spices and fresh vegetables that all marry together to form a united front. We had it with guacamole and chips, as well as a yellow bean salad my sister made. A very tasty lunch!

Cornbread Crusted Pie
adapted from The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever
serves 10


the filling:
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour
kernels from 2 ears of sweet corn
2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes, with juice

cornbread topping:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup canola oil


1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften. Add turkey and break it up as it cooks with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, until turkey is browned and mostly cooked through.

3. Add garlic, spices, salt, flour, and corn, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Let it boil for a couple of minutes to allow a cohesive sauce to form. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the baking dish.

4. Make the topping: In a large bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk the egg, milk, and oil together in a medium bowl and then add to the dry ingredients, mixing until well blended. Pour the batter over the filling in the baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula or spoon.

5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Serve.


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