Friday, March 22, 2013

My Oh My, Tamale Pie!


I absolutely adore tamales.  Whoever thought of grinding up corn, making dough with it, filling it with meat, and rolling it up in a corn husk was a genius!  My husband and I really enjoy making homemade tamales, too.  It's a time-consuming process, but we line it 'em and crank 'em out. Our favorite tamale filling is chicken.  There are dozens of fillings, I'm sure.  But there is something special about the combination of masa, or corn dough, and a spicy chicken filling that makes me want to do cartwheels.  If you've never had one, it's something you need to add to your bucket list.

Since tamales are so time consuming, I wanted to give you an easier way to do them...a tamale pie.  It's the same recipe I would use to make tamales, but, instead of rolling them out, I layered it in a casserole pan.  It's still a little more of a difficult process since you have to steam it, but it's a lot less work than the traditional way.  And I think you'll be glad.  It's worth it.  And here's a note.  You will need two pans for this, a 9 x 13 pan to cook the pie in and another larger pan that the 9 x 13 pan fits in. The second pan is to hold water needed to steam the tamale dough.

Hey, all you cornhuskers, no overtime husking corn today.  You're safe...for now.

CHICKEN TAMALE PIE
3 C cooked, shredded chicken
1 onion, chopped
1 roasted, peeled and chopped poblano
4 cloves garlic, minced
One 4-ounce can green chilies
One 14-ounce can of El Pato tomato sauce (or just regular tomato sauce)
1 C hot chicken stock
1/4 C cilantro
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Olive oil

FOR THE DOUGH:
2 C masa harina
2 C chicken stock
1 T chili powder
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T cumin

GARNISHES:
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Jalapeno Ranch Sauce (recipe under my Sauces & Relishes tab)
Salsa

To make the chicken filling, drizzle some olive oil into a large skillet. Cook onions and poblanos over medium high heat until they are tender. Add in the remaining ingredients and heat through.  Don't cook out much of the liquid as it is needed to keep the filling and the dough moist. Season filling with salt and pepper.

Mix the masa harina and the remaining dough ingredients together.  It will be a paste-like form.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 glass casserole pan. Spread half of the dough in the bottom of the pan. Spread the chicken filling onto the dough.  Spread the other half of the dough onto the chicken filling.  You will need another pan that's large enough to put your 9 x 13 pan in and hold enough water to steam.  Put the steam pan in the oven and pour water in at least halfway up.  Place the 9 x 13 pan into the pan of water.  Cover the whole thing tightly with foil.  Cook 30-45 minutes or until dough is cooked but still moist.  Garnish with whatever toppings you like.

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