This is definitely my kind of turkey!
One of the huge joys of being The Joyful Eater is having success at “veganizing” an old family favorite! When I was young, my mother made a tamale pie and took it to a big Thanksgiving gathering. It was such a huge success, it became part of the family Thanksgiving dinner tradition…..as expected as the turkey, dressing, gravy and pumpkin pie!
The traditional tamale pie is made with chicken, and though I substitute tofu for chicken often in traditional recipes, I didn’t really think a tofu tamale pie would do the trick. My daughter suggested I try, so today I made a tamale pie, basically with the same ingredients as the traditional dish with a little more seasoning added. And…..drumroll please….. it’s delicious! I’m so excited to be able to enjoy this great family favorite! I can hardly wait to take it along to this year’s festivities!
- 1 block of extra-firm tofu
- 1 28-oz can of pureed tomato
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
- chili powder
- cayenne pepper
- tabasco sauce
- black olives, pitted
- 1 small can mushrooms, drained (optional)
Well ahead of time, freeze the block of tofu, and then thaw it. When thawed, you can squeeze the moisture out of it like a sponge. Then, cube the tofu in to bite-size pieces, and saute in a little oil and minced garlic until browned. Set aside. Combine the vegetable broth, and the pureed tomatoes, and bring to a boil. While that’s heating, saute the chopped onion and more minced garlic until softened and browned. Turn off the heat.
While the broth is heating add about 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, and salt. Toss in a little cayenne and/or tabasco if you like it on the spicy side. Taste the sauce as you go until you are happy with the flavor of the sauce. When the broth is boiling well, sprinkle in a little cornmeal at a time, whisking or stirring well to avoid lumps. Add cornmeal slowly until the mixture is somewhat thickened, about the consistency of moist cream of wheat – not a dripping liquid, but not thick. Stir in the onions and cook slowly for a few more minutes.
In a casserole dish, layer in the mush, then half of the tofu “chicken”, and then add about half the olives. Add another layer of the mush. Mix the last layer of tofu, olives, and mush together (and the mushrooms if using), pour on top and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
JOYFUL EATING and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!