The sauce in this filling is from my great-grandmother, who I hear was an excellent cook. She lived in the ‘Mormon’ colonies in Mexico, left in 1912 to avoid Pancho Villa and other warring factions, returned after the Revolution, and earned money through millinery (making hats) and sewing.  Her last few years were in Arizona, where she cooked and sewed at the LDS Mesa temple.   This recipe was her enchilada sauce, only she used 3 cups of water and 3 Tbsp. chili powder when using it over enchiladas, since more liquid is needed for those.  

These are gluten-free if you use cornstarch and not flour in the filling.  Using shredded meat instead of burger makes these a little more authentic, but ground meat is awfully convenient.  Unless you happen to have some leftover roast available to shred.

Individual Tamale Pies 
Makes 12 muffin-sized ones, or can be made into a 9" pie pan

Crust:
2 c. masa harina  (OR use 1 c. cornmeal and 1 c. flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil or other fat (oil, butter, lard, etc)
about 3/4 to 1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix all together to form a moderately thick dough.  Grease 12 muffin cups.  Shape a ball a little bigger than a ping pong ball (3 Tbsp. dough), then press dough in a muffin cup, making a layer about 1/4"- 3/8" thick.  Repeat until finished.  Set aside.  

Filling:
2 cups cooked burger or shredded beef, pork, or chicken
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. butter, optional
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder or to taste
1 Tbsp. cornstarch OR 2 Tbsp. flour

 Mix together the meat, tomato sauce, butter, salt, sugar, and chili powder, and bring to a boil.  Stir the cornstarch or flour into 1-2 Tbsp. water,  to form a slurry.  Gradually mix the slurry into the boiling mixture, cook and stir until thickened, about a minute.  Taste it and add a little more salt if you like.

Spoon 1/4 cup of filling into each of the lined muffin cups.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is set and the filling just starts to bubble around the edges.  Let sit for a couple minutes, then remove them by placing an upside-down cookie sheet on top, then flipping the whole thing upside down (see slideshow below).  

Serve with plain or with shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, or anything else that sounds good.



 
 
This roast was was tender, juicy, and bursting with savory flavor.
You can use the same ingredients with a beef roast, or even with a whole chicken.

 It was great for our Sunday evening dinner- it happily cooked itself while we were at church. I used a 6-quart slow cooker. This made enough for all 8 of us, plus some leftovers to pack in lunches.

So... I've listed the ingredients I used- but I rarely make this kind of food exactly the same way twice.  Use whatever vegetables you have- potatoes would be really good, but we had mashed potatoes on the side  this time.  With this roast, the mushrooms add to the savory flavor, and the small bit of tomato adds a boost- but you can leave them out anyway if you like.  Adding a tablespoon or two of tomato paste or tomato powder would have the same result. And if you leave out the mushrooms, consider adding a couple splashes of soy sauce or Worchestershire sauce to keep that meaty flavor high.  

Rosemary Pork Roast with Vegetables
2 onions, quartered
3 lb. pork roast
4 tsp. salt, divided
6" sprig fresh rosemary OR 1 1/2- 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1/4 c. minced garlic chives OR use 2-4 minced garlic cloves
2 lbs. carrots
1 lb. mushrooms, quartered
1 tomato, cut in 8 wedges

Add the carrots, mushrooms, and tomato and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tsp. salt. Put the onions in the bottom of a slow cooker, then add the roast (mine was frozen SOLID).  Top the roast with garlic chives, rosemary, and 2 tsp. salt.  Add the carrots, mushrooms, and tomato and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tsp. salt.  Put the lid on, then cook on high 6 hours or until everything is tender.  If your roast wasn't frozen, it may only need 4-5 hours on high, or 6-8 on low.

Use the juices to make gravy, or just ladle them over the meat and vegetable as they're served.