Sonoran Pot Roast Pie with Cheesy Cornbread Crust

[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

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Sonoran Pot Roast Pie with Cheesy Cornbread Crust

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 6
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:2 1/2 hours
Special equipment:Dutch oven, baking dish
This recipe appears in: Sunday Supper: Sonoran Pot Roast Pie with Cheesy Cornbread Crust


  • For the Beef Layer:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pound whole boneless beef chuck
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 12 ounces light-flavored beer (such as Corona, Dos Equis, or PBR)
  • 16 ounces jarred or homemade tomatillo salsa
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • For the Bean Layer:
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (4-ounce) can fire-roasted jalapenos or green chiles
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime
  • For the Cornmeal Crust:
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup frozen thawed or fresh corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided


  1. 1

    Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

  2. 2

    For the Beef Layer: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Season meat liberally with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering, sear meat on both sides until nicely browned, about 7 minutes total. Remove the meat. Reduce heat to medium and add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add beer and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return meat to pan, add salsa and thyme and return to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven to cook until a fork shows no resistance when inserted, 2 to 3 hours.

  3. 3

    For the Beans: When meat nears the end of cooking time, place beans in a large bowl and gently mash, taking care to leave some texture. And canned chiles, bacon, sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice and stir to combine. Set aside.

  4. 4

    For the Crust: Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, milk, eggs, melted butter, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Whisk with a fork until just combined and lump-free. Fold in corn kernels, pepper jack cheese, and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Set aside.

  5. 5

    To Assemble: When meat is finished cooking, remove from the oven. Discard thyme sprigs. Transfer pot roast to a platter and tear meat into small chunks or shreds, discarding any unappealing fatty bits. Return meat to pot and stir with juices to combine. The meat should be well-coated and saucy, not stew-like. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

  6. 6

    Spray cooking spray on inside of individual baking crocks or a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. If using crocks, spread an even portion of meat on the bottom of dishes. Top with equal portions of the bean mixture, followed by a layer of cheddar cheese from the remaining 1/2 cup you have on hand. Top with cornmeal mixture and spread evenly over the cheese using a spatula.

  7. 7

    Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with sour cream and additional limes, if desired.


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