Pulled Pork Tamale Pie With a Polenta Top!

Pie for dinner, it just doesn’t get any better than that.  Well, ok, maybe it does: Mexcian style pie for dinner! With Pulled Pork! Today’s pie is a Tamale Pie with pulled pork and polenta. Today’s pie is awesome. Today’s pie also happens to be gluten free! Today’s pie is the best.

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I love pulled pork and I love cheese and I love salsa and polenta and beans so, obviously, I love this pie. And so did everyone else in my family, including my starting-to-get-picky 3-year-old.

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This is a great comfort food style pie. It is warm and hearty and filled with meat. And it heats up great as leftovers! Plus I made too much pulled pork so I had leftovers of that too, which is just fine by me. I’m already looking forward to BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and pulled pork tacos 🙂 Anyway, back to this delicious pie…

Start by making the pork. It needs to boil for 2 hours so start early.

First get all your ingredients for flavoring your pork while it boils.

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Pulled Pork:

3-4 pounds pork shoulder or butt

4 T Olive Oil

2-3 teaspoons Salt

2-3 Cups chicken broth

3 tomatoes

1 large yellow onion

1 large purple onion

3 jalapenos

8-10 cloves garlic

2 limes

oregano (dry or fresh) to taste (I put 3 fresh sprigs)

Cumin to taste (I put about 1 teaspoon)

Canned Chipotle Peppers to taste (These will make it spicy and smokey, I used 2 peppers from the jar so my 3 year old could eat it, but I would probably have liked 4)

I made 4 pounds of pork, you probably only need to make 3 if you don’t want extra… but who doesn’t want extra pulled pork?

Cut the pork into chunks about the size of a deck of cards, maybe a little smaller, and cut out the big chunks of fat.

Rough chop 1 yellow and 1 purple onion, 3 tomatoes, 3 jalapenos, garlic cloves

Add olive oil to a large sauce pan and all the chopped veggies and any fresh spices

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Saute your veggies until soft

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Add chipotle peppers and dry spices

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Add the chicken broth. Mine was frozen from a chicken I had boiled on a different day.

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Bring to a boil and add your meat.

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Add the juice of 2 limes or lemons limes ar best but if they are super expensive because of a drought in California feel free to use lemons.

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Bring back to a boil for 1-2 minutes and then cover and reduce heat to LOW. Simmer for 2 hours. At the end of two hours your pork should be SUPER tender. I pulled mine out with tongs and if I wasn’t very gentle while lifting it would fall apart!

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Once you’ve separate all your pork from the broth shred it up in a large glass baking dish.

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I added about 1 1/2 cups of broth to the pork after I shredded it so it wouldn’t dry out in the oven.

Place on a high rack and bake at 450 F for 20 minutes so you get those nice crispy tips.

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While your pork is baking you can make your Polenta!

Polenta:

6 cups of water

2 t salt

1 3/4 C Corn Meal

3 T butter

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Bring water and Salt to a boil.

Add the Corn meal, sprinkling it into the water while whisking constantly.

Reduce heat to medium low and cook until it gets as thick as pudding, about 20 minutes. (It will harden up quite a bit after it cools slightly.)

Remove from heat and mix in butter.

Tada! Polenta is done.

Drain 1 can of pinto beans and heat in the microwave, covered, until hot.

Mix the beans with about 2 – 3 cups of pulled pork and fill the bottom of your deep dish pie pan.

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Pour your Polenta over the top, I covered the pork with about an inch of polenta and had some left over which I put in a pan and will eat with a different meal; create the proportion that you think you would like best.

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Add about 1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice to the top. I used a Colby/Jack mix and it was very good, but I may use mozzarella next time.

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Here is a side view so you can see my proportions. I would have liked a little more pork, I only used 2 cups, next time I would use 3.

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Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. You might have to hit the broil button for the last 5 minutes.

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Wow. That’s cheese.

Serve right away while piping hot!

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Eat with your favorite salsa and hot sauce!

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Yum. Yum. Yum.

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Yum.

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Caramelized Banana Cream Pie – Yumtastic

My little sister served carmalized bananas over ice-cream the last time I was at her house for dinner and it sparked this idea in my mind: why have I never had Caramelized Banana Cream Pie? I’ve always kind of found Banana Cream Pie to be an unexciting bland kind of pie… maybe I just haven’t had a good one… but to me caramelizing the bananas seemed like the perfect solution.

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I LOVED this pie. It was sweet and delicious and beautiful and easy!

Use whatever curst you would like – Graham Cracker is a popular option. I made mine with a gluten coconut cookie crust. It was delicious and I would absolutely make it with this crust again (if I could get the crust to hold together a little better).

This sentence is a link to the coconut cookie crust as well as a DIY on making your own coconut flour from shaved unsweetened coconut. 

Make your crust and have it cooled and ready to fill. This pie is a no-bake pie, so make sure you pre-bake whatever crust you choose.

Caramelized Banana Cream Pie Filling

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Corn Starch

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1 1/2 Cup Milk

3 Large Egg Yolks

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a large thick sauce pan.

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Turn heat to medium high and whisk the whipped cream and milk into the sugar and cornstarch mixture.

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Once it is fully incorporated, mix in your three egg yolks.

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Stir continuously until it turns into a thick pudding, about 8-10 minutes.

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Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.

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Mix until fully incorporated. Move pudding to a cold bowl and let cool completely, whisking every now and then so it doesn’t get a thick crust on top.

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While the pudding cools:

Cut up two bananas into 1/4 inch slices.

Put 1 T butter into a hot pan. Add your banana slices. Sprinkle the tops of your bananas with 1-2 T of sugar.

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Flip bananas and sprinkle opposite sides with 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar. Cook until bananas have a dark brown caramel crust.

Cut two more bananas (total of 4 largish bananas) into 1/4 inch slices.

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Arrange the fresh banana slices into the bottom of the crust in an even layer.

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Spread a layer of the pudding over the fresh banana layer.

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Use about half of the pudding.

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Layer your cooled caramelized banana slices over your first pudding layer.

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Cover with the rest of the pudding.

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Whip your heavy whipping cream — sweeten to taste.

Cover the top of the pie with your whipped cream!

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Ta-DA! A beautiful pie 🙂 Put in the fridge and let cool for at least 2 hours. Keep refrigerated.

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Can be served with a salted caramel sauce for extra awesomeness – I had some on hand and served it with the sauce, but it is totally not necessary. This pie stands on its own.

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See the beautiful layer of caramlized bananas? Yum.

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With a salted caramel sauce:

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Coconut Cookie Crust – Gluten Free and Delicious + DIY Coconut Flour!

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Let my start by saying that this crust is incredibly aromatic, incredibly tasty, and incredibly crumbly. It didn’t hold together well. So, if you have any suggestions I’m open to them. But here’s the thing, it was so delicious and such a great glutton free option that I’m posting it anyway. And when I figure out how to get it to hold together I’ll let you know.

I made this crust for my Caramelized Banana Cream Pie and the combination of coconut crust and Banana Cream was to die for. I highly recommend it!

When I started to make this crust I made the wrong assumption that I could simply food-proccess flaked coconut and turn it into coconut flour, the same way you can with Almond. That is not the case. It is quite a process to turn flaked coconut into flour… and one that leaves you with coconut milk too! So, I’m going to show you how to make coconut flour from the much more available and cheaper flaked coconut and let you decide if you want to take the time to do it or just buy flour.

If you just buy the coconut flour you can skip to the cookie recipe. Otherwise…

Start by boiling water. For coconut water boil 4 cups of water to 1 cup of coconut, for a thicker coconut milk, use less water depending on how thick you want it. I did a little over 1:1 – about 3 cups of flaked coconut and 4 cups of boiling water because I wanted a thick milk.

Pour you flaked (unsweetened!) coconut in your blender. Add your boiling water.

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Hold the lid on the top when you start the blending (mine blew off!) and then blend until super creamy – about 10 -12 minutes.

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Put a cheese cloth in a bowl and pour your creamy coconut into the cloth. Squeeze out as much of the milk as you can into the bowl twisting your cloth and squeezing the coconut ball. It will be very hot, you can stick it in the freezer for a few minutes now and then to help make it squeezable.

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Once you have squeezed out as much milk as humanly possible open your cloth and feel your coconut. It should feel quite dry.

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Yummy! Look at all that great coconut milk! Save that and use it in coffee or add yummy fall spices to it for a delicious drink.

Pre-heat your oven to 175. Spread your coconut as thin as possible on parchment paper on baking sheets.

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Bake until you touch the coconut and it is completely dry. My coconut was quite thick on my pans so it took 2 1/2 hours of baking to dry out completely! I would check after 45 minutes and then again after 15 minutes and add time accordingly. It will start to dry at the edges of the pan first.

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Take your dried coconut and blend in the food processor until it is a fine flour. I think I could have processed mine more, I think my slightly too course flour may have contributed to the fall-apartness of my end product crust.

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Ta- Da! Coconut flour!

Coconut Cookie Crust

1 1/2 cups coconut flour

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soft butter

1 egg

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Mix butter and honey in a large bowl with a hand mixer.

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Add egg and mix

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Add flour and mix. (I forgot to take pictures of these steps – sorry!) My dough was very sticky and buttery.

Flatten out to about 1/4 inch thickness on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for approx 20 minutes until edges are browned and it is cooked to the middle.

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Crumble cookie (mine totally fell apart just touching it)

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Add 1 T melted butter and 3 T Sugar, mix, and press into pie pan.

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Bake at 350 F for 6-10 minutes. When it smells done it probably is. Take out of the oven when toasty brown and let cool. Fill with your favorite filling! Enjoy!

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Gluten Free Lemon Icebox Pie With Almond Crust

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Lemon Icebox Pie. I chose this pie for this week because I love a citrus pie and because I like the word “icebox”; it makes me feel like a southern lady from an old timey movie.

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I would describe this pie as a lemon key lime pie. Basically it’s a key lime pie with lemon instead of lime. It’s very good: tart, creamy, smooth, great for a hot summer day. I over zested my lemons (got a little too much white in there) which gave it a little bit of a bitter flavor, but if I hadn’t done that it would have been perfect! My husband absolutely LOVED it.

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I also made this pie with an almond crust instead of a graham cracker crust. I wanted to try something gluten free because I know lots of people with gluten intolerance and they deserve pie too! I was pleasantly surprised by this crust. I feel very comfortable saying that you could substitute any graham cracker crust with this almond crust and be happy with the outcome. It held together beautifully and if I hadn’t known it was made with almond flour I would have thought it was some kind of nutty graham cracker cookie or something.

Crust:

1 1/2 Cups Almond Flour (I bet almond meal would work as well, although I used almond flour. They are both ground almonds, but almond flour tends to be more finely ground and without the skin while meal tends to be more coarse and can be ground with the skin)

3 Tablespoons Melted Butter

3 Tablespoons Sugar (If your filling isn’t very sweet you may want to add an extra Tablespoon or two of sugar to keep the same balance of sweetness that you would have with a graham cracker crust)

Add melted butter and sugar to almond flour.

Mix until fully incorporated.

Use fingers to press into pie pan.

Bake at 425 F for 15 -20 minutes until slightly browned.

Remove and let cool.

Make the filling while the crust cools.

Lemon Filling:

2 (14 oz) Cans Sweetened condensed Milk

1 1/4 Cups Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Zest of 2 Lemons (Only press hard enough to get the bright yellow! If you get too much white it will be bitter)

8 Egg Yolks 

Zest 2 lemons and set aside.

Squeeze the juice out of about 8 -10 lemons, including the 2 you zested.

In a stand mixer mix the egg yolks and zest until light in color (about 60 seconds on medium high speed) as seen below.

In a bowl with a hand whisk, whisk together the lemon juice and the two cans of sweetened condensed milk.

Pour the lemon juice/milk mixture into the yolk and zest mixture, whisking on medium until fully incorporated.

Pour into cold crust.

Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes until only the center jiggles about like a custard.

Cool for about an hour and at room temperature then freeze for about 6 hours or leave in the fridge over night.

Cover with plastic wrap or it will weep! But don’t let the plastic wrap touch the top or it will pull off the top of your pie and make it messy looking, like mine:

Messy looking plastic wrap pie top:

Serve with whipped cream! If you mess up your top and you are presenting your pie to friends, cover with whipped cream and no one will know! I was just serving it to my husband and three year old so I just plopped the whipped cream on each slice.

Whipped Cream:

Heavy Whipping Cream whipped at high speed. Add 1 t vanilla and powdered sugar to taste (6-10 T for 1 pint of whipped cream is about right)

Serve, eat, enjoy!