You can use ground beef or even meat-loaf mix in place of the turkey. Onion lovers, sprinkle the casserole with ½ thinly sliced red onion along with the cheese and cilantro. You can make the tamale pie a day ahead, including topping it with the cornmeal mush. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the pie to prevent a skin from forming. An hour or so before serving, adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap, top the pie with cheese, cover with heavy-duty foil, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cilantro and the red onion, if you like, then follow the broiling and resting instructions in the recipe.
Any leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.
1½ pounds ground turkey (94% lean)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1½ cans (about 16 ounces) pinto beans, undrained, ½ can mashed
1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chiles, undrained
2 cans (2.25 ounces each) sliced black olives, drained
1 jar (16 ounces) store-bought salsa (2 cups)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
Adjust oven rack to middle position and turn on broiler. Heat a large (11- to 12-inch) deep skillet with an ovenproof handle over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and cook, stirring frequently and seasoning lightly with salt, until it loses its raw color, a couple of minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons chili powder, then beans, chiles, olives, salsa, and ¼ cup cilantro and simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water, cornmeal, remaining 2 teaspoons chili powder, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, whisking frequently, until mixture thickens to mush. Pour cornmeal mush over hot meat mixture, spreading with a spatula to completely cover. Sprinkle with cheese and remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Broil until cheese melts and mush gets a little crusty, about 5 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.