Mama Hayes’s Tamale Pie

20 Aug

This Saturday we threw a surprise party for Steven to celebrate his 30th birthday. I had no idea how it would go, a few of us inadvertently ruined the surprise (or so we thought) and guests are always apologizing the minute before the party for not being able to make it, but alas – it was a hit. And it was just a hit, it was perfect.

My mom took on the job of keeping Steven preoccupied until we were ready for him, and she and my step dad took him shooting (bang bang), then took him to buy a bike (which is perfect since he works 5 minutes away and could save gas by biking there). After a nice afternoon they made their way to our house, where guests who had traveled near and far waiting in our back yard to surprise him. He may have known there was going to be a party, but he had no idea who would be there, and he was happy to see s few friends from high school among family members. One of his friends was in fact our previous Vixen of the Month (when we had it) Mia Beringuel, known to some of you as @mia_butterfly. She made a long drive to join us and Steven was SO surprised. Also among the guests was another friend from high school and a few friends from our previous dance instructing days. It was fabulous.

To top off the surprises, I did my best to make some Steven-approved food. He will try nearly everything, and enjoys most of what I make, but nothing beats mom’s cooking and his mom’s recipes reign supreme when it comes to birthday meals. He has requested his mom’s Hot Tamale Pie for dinner every year for his birthday nearly the entire time I’ve known him (almost 12 years now) and this year was no different. I asked what he might like for his birthday meal and he replied, “Mmm … Hot tamale pie.” And so it was settled. This time, though, it would have to feed nearly 30 people, not just a handful of family members. So I set out to get the recipe, and with a handed-down recipe waiting for me in my email I decided to take on the challenge.

Keep in mind I am usually ALL about trying new recipes, and I absolutely love switching things up and making them my own. This recipe is different, though. Why? Well, because usually moms make things best. No matter who tries to recreate a mother’s recipe, it usually isn’t quite the same. So with this in mind, I set out to recreate it the best I could. I did some math (to increase the ingredient amount), set out my ingredients and got to work.

The result? Success. Even Steven’s mom, Denise, said I had done it correctly and it had turned out just like Steven liked it. Hooray! This recipe filled two 9 x 13 disposable steam pans.

1 #10 can hominy (I used Juanita’s Mexican Style White Hominy)

4.5 lbs hamburger

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 – 1 c taco seasoning (I couldn’t tell you the brand, sorry!)

3 Tbl onion powder

1 Tbl garlic powder

1 15 oz can creamed corn

1 15 oz can kernel corn

2 15 oz cans sliced black olives

3 c grated cheddar cheese, separated (1.5 c for each pan)

Here we go:

Make sure you have a large pot to brown the meat in. I used my Vitamix to mince the garlic cloves knowing that I’d be blending the hominy it in later and it may add flavor to the hominy.

Drizzle some oil in the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and when it begins to sizzle add the beef. Add the seasonings, cans of corn, and MOST of the olives (reserving some for the topping) and cook thoroughly.

Meanwhile, blend the hominy (I had to do two batches in the Vitamix) until broken up. Strain the liquid and set aside.

When the beef has cooked through and smells delicious, spoon it into two 9 x 13 pans. Using half of the hominy for each pan, spread the hominy over the beef mixture. Top with cheese and remaining olives. Cook at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the hominy is heated through.


We served this along with a version of my own mom’s tamale pie (stay tuned), salad, and various salsas. When his mom makes it, there is usually a pile of delicious bread with butter and a fresh salad. However you serve it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. It is easy, delicious, and always filling. Eat up!

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