Cinco de Mayo Elk Tamale Pie

May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, is a day for parades and feasting on traditional Mexican dishes. Cornbread and tamales are local favourites and combining them creates a dish worth celebrating. Tamale pie is made on a cornbread crust, layered with homemade enchilada sauce, and topped with ground venison and cheese.


Cornbread Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup corn
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup sour cream

Enchilada Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup chicken or wild game bird stock

Meat Layer:

  • 1 lb ground elk or venison
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup each cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, shredded


Cornbread Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a food processor or small blender, puree half of the corn kernels with the milk or cream.
  4. Add all the corn, butter, egg and sour cream to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Spread cornbread mixture into a well-greased 12” oven-safe frying pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Let cool.

Enchilada Sauce

  1. Heat oil on medium high heat in small saucepan.
  2. Add flour and whisk together for one minute.
  3. Add chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, and salt and whisk to combine.
  4. Slowly add the stock, whisking as you go to remove any lumps.
  5. Simmer sauce on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Meat Layer

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Sauté onion for 5-7 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook for one to two more minutes.
  3. Add ground elk and cook until no longer pink, about five minutes.


  1. Poke holes throughout the top of the cornbread and pour the enchilada sauce over the cornbread.
  2. Add elk mixture and spread evenly.
  3. Top with the shredded cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes (400°F) until cheese is melted.
  5. Remove foil and broil for five minutes or until cheese is browned and bubbly.