Dinner fail?

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but America’s Test Kitchen kinda let me down today. Shocking, I say!
Here’s how it went down.
I finally trotted down to the basement to dig the ATK 10-year cookbook out of the box it has been languishing in since July, and within a few minutes I settled on a recipe that sounded delicious: Skillet Tamale Pie. Basically, it is some seasoned ground beef, black beans, diced tomatoes, and cheese with a cornbread crust on top. Sounds good, huh?
Here’s how it turned out (minus a couple of servings).

Tamale Pie

In theory, the pie is delicious. In practice? Well… The cornbread top was delicious (thanks in part to the cornmeal I ground myself), but the filling definitely needed more flavor. Even after I added extra chili powder and extra salt and pepper (and added some cumin, which wasn’t called for in the recipe), the result was still pretty bland. I’m seriously considering making this again and just using a taco seasoning packet.
I will say, however, that I love that green Tramontina braiser in the picture–I bought it based on recommendations from America’s Test Kitchen. They recommended the matching dutch oven based on its performance and price, saying that it was a great alternative for anyone who didn’t want to spend big bucks on a Le Creuset pan.
I bought the 6.5-quart and 3.5-quart dutch ovens and the 3-quart braiser from walmart.com for Greg’s birthday last year, and the total came to about $110. I couldn’t even get one Le Creuset for that price. Granted, the Tramontina isn’t as pretty and the knobs are big and clunky-looking, but so far they have performed very well.


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