Colorado Carnitas Tamale Pie

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Overview

Colorado is a homemade tamale pie of slow roasted pork butt carnitas combined with black beans, corn, tomatoes and green chilis beneath gluten free corn bread.

Ingredients
carnitas, tomatoes, green chiles, corn, black beans, shredded cheddar jack cheese, corn bread topping Full ingredient list

Dietary notes
gluten-free, spicy-mild


Tasting notes

Flavor
Slightly sweet corn bread complements the savory, faintly spicy carnitas mixed and is balanced by goooey cheese

Texture
Crunchy corn bread toppping sops up the tender carnitas chili-like bottom with vegetal flavors from corn, black beans and acidic tomatoes

Pairings
A light green salad with buttermilk ranch dressing nicely balances this meat-heavy Southwestern dish. To drink, try pairing this acidic, slightly sweet and savory dish with a similarly sweet porter, such as Diebolt's Postcard Robust Porter [Denver] or a full bodied red, like Two River's Cabernet Sauvignon [Grand Junction





The Americanization of the Tamale

Tamale parlors began appearing in the early 1930's alongside Italian trattorias and Chinese Dim Sum restaurants, in order to take advantage of Americans' thirst for exotic cuisine within the boundaries of their own comfort.

For example, the menu of the wildly popular Tortola Tamale Café at 1237 Polk Street, San Francisco (an authentic Mexican restaurant started by an Italian immigrant) featured a number of dubiously Mexican but regionally appropriate dishes, such as their Cup Tamale, which used thickened cornmeal filled with ground beef, and steamed into shape using a coffee cup.


Some of these fusions exist invisibly to us today. For example, on which side of the post-annexation Rio Grande do you think the flour tortilla developed? And to really drive home the fluidity of food culture, the Mississippi Delta is today famous for their 𝐓𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐞 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐥 of African-American owned hot Tamale restaurants, developed from the generational side-by-side work and living of working class Mexican and Black families.⁣⁣



The popularity of the Tamale Pie, thought to originate in Texas in the 1910's, exploded during WWII as 1) the USA saw a boom in the canning industry which made pervasive cheaper and more accessible, though lower grade, ingredients and 2) the cut-back in wheat consumption from patriotic efforts like 𝗪𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝗪𝐞𝐝𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 to leave more supply for the war effort.⁣⁣

While we recognize the complex path of appropriation, industrialization and even war that led to the creation of this nostalgic dish so many of us enjoyed, we thought 𝐂𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐨 𝐓𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐞 𝐏𝐢𝐞 to be an appropriate name for our meal, reflecting the state's Mexican origin and recent growth from the American Midwest.