Stories / Recipes

This Casserole Celebrates the Best of Border Cuisine

Frank Guerriero

February 04, 2019


Photo and Food Styling: Judy Kim

Tamales are one of those once-foreign dishes that, through time, immigration, and cultural fusion, have become quintessential plates in American cuisine. Always a champion of our national recipe book’s evolution, James Beard adored both the traditional tamale and this casserole-style twist.

Instead of mixing up a typical masa, Beard started by simmering a looser mixture of water and cornmeal that fares far better in the oven. After searing up a healthy helping of sausage and toasting spices in the drippings, it’s time to sweat out an aromatic vegetable base and brown some beef. Canned tomatoes, olives, and fresh corn round out the filling, which is sandwiched between layers of the cornmeal porridge in a casserole. Topped with grated cheddar and baked until bubbly and golden, it’s a stick-to-your-ribs celebration of the southern border’s fruitful culinary exchange. Get the recipe.

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Frank Guerriero is the media assistant at the Beard Foundation. Find him on Instagram.