Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale PieHere today…Gone Tamale (or to Tahoe)
It’s the second week in August, so you can find me parked in a beach chair reading my Kindle up at Tahoe. This is my post-baseball, pre-start of school week of relaxation…well sort of. It’s really semi-controlled chaos, but we have a good time!

Yes, just being at Tahoe makes life better. It’s hard not be relaxed while enjoying the views and the water. There is just one problem—we still have to feed people—11 of them plus two dogs.

Over the years my sister and I have pretty much gotten things down to a science, but there is always room for improvement. In recent years we have started using the crock pot, so dinner is ready when we get home from the day’s activities. Of course, a well-timed cocktail and some appetizers can buy time for the stuff that takes a little bit longer.

A few weeks ago I came across this Tamale Pie recipe, and knew I had to try it. The recipe was super-easy and tasty, and could be easily doubled (or tripled) for a large crowd. So this will be on our table this week. As a bonus, the leftovers (if there are any) make a great breakfast with scrambled eggs.

Chicken Tamale Pie
Adapted from The Food Network 

3 cups diced, cooked chicken (about 12 ounces)
1 1/2 cups prepared salsa
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Stir the chicken, salsa, beans, 1/2 cup of the broth and the chili powder together in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet* over medium heat until simmering. Mix in the scallions and remove the mixture from the heat. Set aside.

Combine the cornmeal, the remaining 1 cup of broth, and 1 cup of water in a medium pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until very thick about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Spread the cornmeal mixture over the filling (in the cast-iron skillet) and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

*Note: If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, cook the chicken mixture in a regular frying pan, and scoop it into an oven-proof baking dish. Spread the cooked cornmeal mixture over the chicken, and place the baking dish in the oven.

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