I adore tamales. But, the task of making them is about as much fun for me as getting a root canal. They are time-consuming and messy and labor-intensive and tedious. (Yes, I just threw a major run-on sentence at ya!)
So, when fate brought me together with making tamale pie in my slow cooker, I was super ecstatic. I started the day planning to make a Mexican lasagna in the slow cooker - layers of seasoned beef, black beans, corn and cheese all tucked between flour tortillas. But, when I went to grab the package of flour tortillas, I remembered that I had just used all but three of them whipping up some quick quesadillas for the kids before the school football game the other night. So, I turned to the internet and some of my favorite recipe blogs for inspiration. Thus, PLAN B was born.
I keep masa harina (a finely-ground corn flour) on hand to thicken chili. It is what is used to make up the "dough" portion of traditional tamales. I kept with the beef, black beans and corn mixture that I initially had planned for the lasagna, but turned it all into a "tamale pie" that cooks wonderfully in the slow cooker.
One could easily change up the recipe to suit their tastes. If you like things spicy, throw in some hot peppers. You could substitute shredded chicken or pork for the beef. Salsa could probably be used in place of the enchilada sauce. And, store-bought taco seasoning may be a quick substitute in place of the spices called for in the recipe.
Yields 6 servings.