Black Bean and Corn Bread Hot Dish (‘Tamale’ Pie)

3 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 Cup Sherry Reserva Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Single Variety Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed
3 Cups sweet corn kernels, fresh or thawed frozen
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Chipotle Morita Chile Powder
1-1/2 tsp Cumin, Ground
1 tsp Oregano, Mexican
2 tsp Sea Salt, Fine Grind
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Fine Grind
5-1/4 Cup Water
1 (14.5 Oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 Cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 Cup coarse yellow corn meal
1-1/2 Cup plain yogurt
2 Cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 Cup tomato sauce

Optional: Additional sour cream, radishes, sliced black olives, shredded cheddar or jack cheese, and other “taco” toppings, if desired.

In a shallow dish, combine black beans, sherry vinegar, and lemon juice. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (up to 12 hours). Drain before using.

Pour olive oil in a large, heavy skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add fresh corn kernels. Toss once to mix, then continue to brown, about 5 minutes. Toss again and add jalapeño, garlic, cumin, oregano, 1/2 tsp of the 2 tsp of salt, and the pepper. Cook for a minute or two before pouring in 1/4 Cup of the water to deglaze the pan. Pour spiced corn mixture into a large bowl and add the tomato and cilantro. Toss lightly to combine.

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.

Bring to a boil 3 Cups of the water and the remaining salt in a large sauce pan over high heat. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, create a paste by mixing together the corn meal and remaining room-temperature water. Scrape the cornmeal paste into the saucepan of boiling water and stir constantly until mixture returns to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until corn meal is as thick as mashed potatoes, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 Cup of the plain yogurt. Cover and cook over very low heat until it returns to the thickness of mashed potatoes, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Spread 2/3 of the cornmeal paste into the bottom of the oiled casserole dish, pushing dough up the sides of the dish to create a 1-inch raised edge (like a pie crust) all around. Spoon the drained, marinated beans on top of cornmeal. Sprinkle 1-1/2 Cup cheddar cheese over the beans. Add the spiced corn-tomato mixture, spreading evenly over the layer of beans. Spoon the remainder of the cornmeal over the top, and lightly smooth over the surface. Don’t worry if the filling peeks out here and there under the top crust – it’s supposed to.

Spoon the remaining yogurt and the tomato sauce across the top of the pie in alternating diagonal lines. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly all across the top.

Place casserole in oven and bake for about an hour, or until the the top is a deep golden color. When done, transfer pan from oven to a cooling rack, and allow casserole to stand for at least 15 minutes to “set up.”

Cut into squares and remove with a spatula. Garnish with sour cream, black olives, radish slices, or whatever else your heart desires.