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Tamale cornbread sticks

Tamale Cornbread Sticks

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If cornbread and tamales were to marry, they would have little Tamale Cornbread Sticks! These delectable sticks would be perfect to serve at a tailgate. Another great recipe from our friend Nan Kelley. She says this is the cornbread she grew up on. If you like a sweeter cornbread you can simply add 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar to the mix.



Tamale Meat

1 tablespoon vegetable oil1 pound lean ground beef2 onions, chopped1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes 14.5 oz1 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon chili powder, plus 1 teaspoon1 teaspoon cumin1 teaspoon cinnamon1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


4 cups cornmeal mix, self-rising, (Nan used a buttermilk and white corn version)2 cups whole milk, or buttermilk4 eggs1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons2 tablespoons half & half


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • For the tamale meat: Reduce heat to medium low and add ground beef and chopped onions. Crumble beef and stir beef and onions until beef is browned.
  • Pour in tomatoes and add all spices. Stir well and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Add the meat mixture to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture is even (about 8 to 10 seconds) to resemble a tamale texture. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 425° F. Spray a cast iron cornbread stick pan generously with nonstick spray and in the final couple of minutes of oven reaching temperature, place pan in the oven to preheat as well.
  • For the cornbread: In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal mix, milk, eggs, oil, and half & half and mix well. Option: use a box of cornbread mix, prepared, for a sweeter lighter cornbread texture.
  • Remove pan from oven and place about 2½ teaspoons of cornmeal batter in each stick shape, using the spoon to evenly distribute. Place about 3 teaspoons of the tamale meat on top of the batter in each stick and evenly distribute with a spoon or with your fingers. Pour batter on top of the meat in each stick to cover without overfilling and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes and remove each stick, using a knife to break away any bread outlines that may have baked together. Repeat process until all meat and batter are used.
  • Nan’s Notes: This is the type of Southern cornbread I grew up on. It’s not sweet cornbread that you sometimes find in restaurants or in grocery stores in a premade mix. If you like your cornbread on the sweet side, simply add 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar to the batter. Serve the cornbread sticks with sour cream and salsa. May freeze sticks for use later. They make great leftovers-Charlie liked them cold, right out of the fridge!
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