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Thursday: Mini Tamale Pies and Tomato, Shallot & Cucumber Salad

One night I prepared these little babies and just before I was supposed to pop them in the oven, life happened and I had to abort the mission. I covered them with plastic and off I went. The next night, I took them out of the fridge, heated the oven and threw them in – they were perfect! And now I can share yet another mistake.  
Serves: 4-6     Prep: 20     Cooking: 20


For the Pies
2 -3 cups leftover Carne Guisado
1 small can or ½ cup frozen corn
1 cup salsa
1-2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo, to taste
¾ cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack
1 box corn bread mix – your favorite
For the Salad
12 shallots, peeled but left whole
4 plum tomatoes, quartered 2 English cucumbers, 1 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablesppons tarragon, chopped
A generous pinch of salt
Pepper to taste


Prep Opportunity
The tamale pies can be assembled a day ahead and stored in the fridge.
The salad can be made ahead and dressed at dinnertime.
Preheat the oven to 400º.
Peel the shallots and place them on a baking sheet. Toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Roast for 12-15 minutes until soft but still hold their shape.
In a large bowl, combine the beef and its cooking liquid, corn, salsa, chipotle and ½ the cheese.
Divide this mixture between the 4-6 ramekins or an 8 x 8 baking dish.
In another bowl, mix the cornbread batter according to package instructions.
Add the remaining cheese to the batter and top each ramekin with ½ cup of batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove shallots from oven when ready and place in a large bowl with the tomatoes and cucumbers.
Add olive oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper.
The pies are done when the cornbread is set. Let pies rest for 5-10 minutes – they could be hot!
Serve with salad.