Aren’t these stunning little appetizers? They start with an earthy masa base, followed by layers of pepper jack cheese, refried beans and yellow rice, topped with guacamole and sour cream. It’s like a taco dip that gussied up for a cocktail party.
I’m not going to lie about this. These mini tamale pies are beautiful and delectable but they are a pain to make. It seemed like such a good concept when I first started. And it was all well worth it once I finally served them at the party. But in the middle of making each pie, I had my doubts about posting the recipe. I mean, everything on this blog is supposed to be easy, right? These appetizers require a lot of ingredients and about an hour of prep time. I’m a careless and rushed cook so I have little patience for making individual crusts (notice there are no dessert recipes here?). But, in the end, I decided these apps are too delicious to keep to myself. You have now been warned and you can proceed at your own risk. If you want a less fancy version, try making it as a casserole in this version of tamale pie. Much faster.
I made these vegetarian but I’m tempted to make these with ground beef instead of rice in the future. Or, perhaps, I’ll fill them with chicken and salsa verde. But, of course, you could fill them with anything that your heart desired.
Taco Dip Mini Tamale Pies
Serving Size: 1 pie
Weight Watchers Points+: 4
Calories 130, Carbs 15g, Fat 8g, Protein 4g
- 1 cup masa harina (in the Hispanic section)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
For the filling
- 1/4 cup rice
- 1/4 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup refried beans (look for vegetarian, fat free beans)
- 1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 cup light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 12 cilantro leaves
- 6 cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 greased cupcake tin
- 1 plastic gallon bag
- Glass baking dish or pie plate (to flatten crusts)
1. In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the crusts. You’ll need to get your hands dirty. Masa is peasant food- no food processor here. Use your hands to knead the dough well, mixing for at least two minutes. The final product should have the consistency of Play-Doh.
2. Divide the dough and make 12 round balls. Cover with a wet paper towel to keep the dough moist.
4. Place a dough ball on top of the plastic and cover with the other section of plastic.
5. Use a clear dish with a flat bottom to press the tortillas. I use a glass baking dish. You want a clear dish so you can see what you’re doing. With the dish, press down gently on the dough ball. Watch it flatten into a disc about 4 inches across.
6. Gently peel away the top plastic. The most annoying part comes next. You need to slip the disc into a cupcake tin to form a crust. You’ll probably be better at it than I am. I sort of let the dough settle into the cupcake tin and then pinched the edges.
7. Bake the crusts for 15 minutes at 350˚.
8. While the crusts are baking, start on the rice. Add the olive oil to a sauce pan and sauté the onions, garlic and rice until the rice is golden on the edges. Add vegetable broth and let the rice cook until just tender, adding more broth if necessary. I’m a careless cook and often let rice burn. Don’t do that.
9. Once the rice has cooked, add the refried beans and the chipotles. Stir to mix.
10. When the pie crusts are done, pull them out of the oven. Fill each crust with a heaping tablespoon of the rice and bean mixture, filling each pie halfway full.
11. Sprinkle cheese over each pie.
12. Pop the pies back into the oven for 5 minutes, letting the cheese melt. When the pies finish cooking, the crusts will still be soft and this is ok. You definitely don’t want hard, dry crusts.
13. While the pies are in the oven, prep the avocado. Scoop the avocado into a bowl and mash it to make a sort of guacamole. I recommend adding a bit of salt.
14. Pull the pies out of the oven. On each pie, layer teaspoon of guacamole and a teaspoon of sour cream.
15. To do the garnish, cut the tomatoes in half. Stick one cilantro leaf and one tomato half into each pie, using the sour cream to help prop them up so they are leaning casually, Martha Stewart style. Wipe your brow and vow to bring chips and salsa to the next party.
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