Chicken Tamale Casserole

Chicken Tamale Casserole

When I think of tamales, I think of the rich masa and a chicken filling. This recipe recreates the masa in the topping, kind of like cornbread, but without sugar. If you don't have masa, use finely ground cornmeal. The filling uses convenience items too, like leftover cooked chicken, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, and a can of chopped green chiles. Top with a good melting cheese of your choice, avocado slices, and chopped tomatoes. Garnish with black olives and sliced green onions, if desired. A little dollop of sour cream would be good, too!
  • Preparation:
  • Cooking:
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  1. Step 1

    Combine masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Step 2

    Place vegetable shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium-high speed until fluffy.
  3. Step 3

    Mix in 1/3 of the masa harina mixture on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Mix in 1/2 of the chicken broth and mix until combined. Add 1/3 of the masa marina mixture, and mix about 2 minutes. Pour in the remaining broth and mix an additional 2 minutes. Add in the remainder of the masa mixture and mix about 5 minutes. The mixture will be a slightly thick batter. Allow to stand while the filling is prepared.
  4. Step 4

    Preheat the oven's broiler. Place poblano chiles directly on the oven rack under the broiler and broil until the skin is blackened and bubbly. Turn the peppers to blacken the skin on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
  5. Step 5

    Place broiled peppers in a paper bag, close the bag, and allow the peppers to steam inside the bag, about 10 minutes.
  6. Step 6

    When peppers are cool enough to touch, remove the skins. Cut the peppers open and remove the seeds and membranes. Slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  7. Step 7

    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Step 8

    While the onions are cooking, use some more olive oil to grease a 10x10-inch baking dish, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  9. Step 9

    Add garlic to the skillet and cook about 1 minute. Stir in sliced poblano peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes and juice, green chiles, capers, cumin, and cloves. Cook for 4 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  10. Step 10

    Pour filling into the prepared dish.
  11. Step 11

    Carefully and evenly spread the masa harina mixture on top of the filling.
  12. Step 12

    Remove excess water from each corn husk and place on top of the masa mixture, overlapping as necessary. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  13. Step 13

    Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  14. Step 14

    Remove foil and corn husks. Sprinkle on Monterey Jack cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
  15. Step 15

    Top with avocado slices, black olives, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, and green onions to taste. Serve warm.