One of my oldest son's favorite things to order when we are on the Northwestern, Pacific side of Mexico would be hand made tamales* that you can pick up as you walk through the market. Seasoned meat and cheese wrapped in that soft Masa cornmeal dough and steamed inside the familiar corn husks. Well making those can be a pretty time consuming operation. Not something I am going to be starting after a day at work. This, on the other hand, is very simple to assemble and I will be making use of some "cheater" convenience items to speed things along. This is an "after your work day" meal, not a "work all day at it" meal. For a history lesson on tamales, see *Food Nerd Notes at the bottom of this post.
Click here to watch my Video Recipe to make Chicken Tamale Casserole
Click for Printable Recipe
- 1 box of your favorite cornbread mix
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 (15 oz) can cream-style corn
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 oz canned, chopped green chilies
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey jack/cheddar cheese
- 2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- I am using a rotisserie chicken to save time.
- 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce, divided
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- You can choose regular or a low salt variety
- 3/4 (15 oz) can drained and rinsed black beans
- 1 can (10 oz) corn niblets
- I used a "Mexican-style"
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- crumbled tortilla chips
- enough to cover the top. I didn't measure.
- chopped avocado
- chopped tomatoes
- fresh lime juice
- kosher salt and black pepper
- chopped purple onion
- sour cream to serve it with
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Then start by making your cornbread.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Then start by making your cornbread.
|1 box of cornbread mix|
|1/3 cup milk|
|1/2 of a 15oz can of cream-style corn|
|1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack/cheddar cheese blend|
|2 oz chopped green chilies (half of a 4 oz can)|
|1 tsp cumin|
|1 Tbsp canola oil|
|2 - 3 cups of chopped, cooked rotisserie chicken|
|1 cup mild, red enchilada sauce|
|1 packet of taco seasoning|
And add in a bit of chopped purple onion. Maybe about.... 1/4 cup. ? As you can see, this is a touchy feely recipe... no exact measurements needed. Have fun and let your personal taste be your guide.
|drained and rinsed black beans|
|sweet whole corn niblets|
|chicken with the added enchilada sauce and taco seasoning|
|rest of the enchilada sauce|
Post Script -
I caught my son putting this on his plate for breakfast this morning. Ummm... not sure what to make of that. Yep. It's safe to say he liked it, but come on....for BREAKFAST?!!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a box of your favorite cornbread mix. I like Jiffy, but use whatever you are comfortable with. If that means you like to make it from scratch, do so. But if you are making it from a box, make it according to the directions with the milk and egg called for. Add in the yellow cheese blend, cream-style corn, cumin, and green chilies. Add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to your iron skillet and let it get really hot. Pour in the cornbread batter. The hot oil will help it form a crispy crust on the bottom and sides. Then pop the skillet into the oven for about 25 minutes.
While cornbread is baking, combine shredded, cooked chicken with a cup of red enchilada sauce and the taco seasoning. This may seem really salty, but we are balancing out the sweetness from the cornbread.
Remove cornbread from the oven and add all the toppings: rinsed black beans, corn niblets, chicken and sauce, crumbled tortilla chips, then LOTs of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle about another 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce over the top, then put it back into the oven for 15 minutes.
Garnish with chopped cilantro, and a little salad of chopped tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper, and some purple onion. Serve hot with a big dollop of sour cream.
Food Nerd Notes:First, let's talk about Tamales -
A tamale — is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa (a starchy corn-based dough), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned. Tamales have been traced back to the Ancient Maya people, who prepared them for feasts as early as the Preclassic period (1200-250 BC).
Some sources say tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. Aztec and Maya civilizations, as well as the Olmeca and Tolteca before them, used tamales as portable food, often to support their armies, but also for hunters and travelers. Tamale use in the Inca Empire had been reported long before the Spanish visited the New World.
Now... Casseroles -
For sure, food trends come and go. Casseroles were all the rage in the 1950's, then fell out of favor in the 1970's. Now... we can't get enough of them. We are busy. They are comforting and easy.. and flavorful. But what is a casserole...really?
A casserole, from the French word for "saucepan", is a large, deep dish used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. The word casserole is also used for the food cooked and served in such a vessel, with the cookware itself. In British English, this type of dish is frequently also called a "bake," coinciding with the cooking technique used to cook casseroles. In Minnesota, this type of dish is sometimes called "hotdish".
Casseroles usually consist of pieces of meat, various chopped vegetables, a starchy binder such as flour, potato or pasta, and, often, a crunchy or cheesy topping. Liquids are released from the meat and vegetables during cooking, and further liquid in the form of stock, wine, stock, vegetable juice, etc., may be added when the dish is assembled. Casseroles are usually cooked slowly in the oven, often uncovered. They may be served as a main course or a side dish, and may be served in the vessel in which they were cooked.
In 1866, Elmire Jolicoeur, a French Canadian immigrant, invented the precursor of the modern casserole in New Hampshire. The casseroles we know today are a relatively modern invention. Early casserole recipes consisted of rice that was pounded, pressed, and filled with a savory mixture of meats such as chicken or sweetbreads. Some time around the 1870s this sense of casserole seems to have slipped into its current sense. Cooking in earthenware containers has always been common in most nations, but the idea of casserole cooking as a one-dish meal became popular in America in the twentieth century, especially in the 1950s when new forms of lightweight metal and glassware appeared on the market.
Craving more easy Mexican-style choices?
Beefy Mexican Cornbread
Black Bean and Corn Salsa
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