I had read many rave reviews for Amy’s Tamale Pie and was anxious to see what all of the hype was about. Packaged in neat and tidy little square boxes within the frozen food aisle, they really look rather unassuming. The colorful picture on the front is enticing, yet modest.
Armed with two Tamale Pies, one for my husband and one for myself, I was ready to prepare lunch … and oh how easy it was. Of course, there were the instructions on the back for a conventional oven. Perhaps this is one reason I didn’t purchase frozen foods in our last home, where we didn’t keep a microwave. The cooking time was 40 to 45 minutes. As people whose lunchtime hunger hits almost instantly, such a wait time is not an option. Luckily, we now have a microwave handy, so with some possible sacrifice in taste, I popped them in, following the 5-minute “nuke” instructions.
The pies were topped with a thick layer of soft and moist polenta like crust. In taste, I found it had a mild cornbread-like appeal. Beneath this shield was a filling not too unlike Amy’s Vegetable Chili in form, but a bit different in taste and texture. The filling was a tomato base, filled with pinto beans and corn. I didn’t spot the zucchini listed on the ingredient statement, but the onions were of course evident. It was thick and rich, with a bold flavor, yet just the right amount of spice. I enjoyed the warmth of the mellow heat that spared my mouth of that “spicy” feel, and kept me from reaching for my water. Though I love Amy’s Medium Chili, I would be very pleased if they came out with a mild version that possessed about the same heat as this Tamale Pie.
My husband let out an enthusiastic “good!” as he devoured his Tamale Pie. Considering he is not a big fan of corn or Mexican food, I was a bit surprised by how much he enjoyed this entrée. Unfortunately, he was a bit too anxious, suffering the all to common burn on the roof of his mouth. I do recommend cutting into the Pie, but then letting it cool an addition minute or two.
This entrée definitely received two thumbs up from both of us. There were only two minor details that kept it from making our list of 5 star selections. One was the cilantro. Though it was well hidden, and in most cases probably a great enhancement to the flavor, I bit down on a few small cilantro leafs that just didn’t work for me. Neither of us are cilantro fans, though if it is well hidden you will hear no complaints. For the most part it was, just the occasional bite.
The second was the size. Though it appeared perfectly sized for one petite meal, it packed in only 150 calories. A bit lower than even a calorie restricted meal. True, it was more filling than this caloric count would imply, perhaps filling us to the point of an entrée 100 calories denser. However, more than a small salad, or possibly two pies, would be required to make this a meal in my opinion.
I concur that this is an excellent product. Yet, in a world where super-sizing has become the norm, and I find myself saying, “that’s enough, I don’t need anymore,” with great regularity; Amy’s solicits my contradictory “not that small!” with their Tamale Pie. True, it is all organic (not cheap by any means) and relatively inexpensive for a frozen entrée of this quality, but maybe just ½ pie more?
My Extra Notes & Tips:
- For its petite size, the Tamale Pie did pack in some good nutrients, with 5g of protein, 4g of fiber, 15% of Vitamin A and 10% each of the RDI for iron and Vitamin C. As well, it was low in fat and sugar, with no saturated fat, trans fats, or cholesterols.
- INGREDIENTS : (VEGAN) FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC PINTO BEANS, ORGANIC TOMATO PUREE, ORGANIC CORN, ORGANIC ZUCCHINI, ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC CORNMEAL, ORGANIC SWEET RICE FLOUR, EXPELLER PRESSED HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER OIL, CILANTRO, SEA SALT, SPICES, ORGANIC GARLIC.
Where to Purchase: See Amy's website for a store locator. Amy's products are distributed in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Thailand, though I am not sure which countries (outside of the U.S.) are currently carrying this product.