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Cast Iron Skillet One-Pan Meals

One-pan meals the whole family will love

Author Kari Hanson

Published on: February 05, 2023

Cast Iron Skillet One-Pan Meals

Three-Bean Tamale Pie
Three-bean tamale pie from Jackie Freeman’s new cookbook “Cast Iron Skillet One-Pan Meals.” Image credit: Charity Burggraaf

Three-Bean Tamale Pie

© 2022 by Jackie Freeman. All rights reserved. Excerpted from “Cast Iron Skillet One-Pan Meals” by permission of Sasquatch Books.

We call this meal “the beast.” It’s larger than life and a little bumpy on top. It likes to bubble over when baking, so make sure to put your skillet on a sheet pan before putting it in the oven. And it may be “just” a vegetarian meal, but it is hearty and filling AF. If you can’t find a can of three-bean blend, pick and choose two of your favorite beans (red kidney, pinto, or black bean) for a two-bean tamale pie. Heck, in a pinch, you can even make it a one-bean tamale pie, and it will be just as yummy and satisfying. Using fire-roasted tomatoes gives this dish a bit of a smoky edge. Poblano peppers are only mildly spicy, but if you’re worried about heat, you can swap out the poblano with an additional bell pepper.


For the filling

  • 2 tablespoons high-heat oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, diced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans three-bean blend (red kidney, pinto, and black bean), rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepper jack cheese

For the topping

  • 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3⁄4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3⁄4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons high-heat oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 1 large egg

Sour cream, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, corn and broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, stirring often, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. To make the topping, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, chives, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil and egg. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

5. Using a large spoon, place dollops of the cornbread batter on top of the bean filling, as evenly dispersed as possible. Place the skillet on a sheet pan and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until a pale golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cornbread comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving with sour cream.

TIP: You can actually make your own buttermilk in a pinch. Combine 3⁄4 cup of whole milk with a scant tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Give it a stir and let it sit for 10 minutes before using.

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