Chicken Tamale Pie

By • December 20, 2014 40 Comments

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Author Notes: A chunky chicken chili topped with a cornbread-y/polenta-y batter situation baked up to a crisp in your oven, also known as everything you want in one pot. If you're craving even more layers, top it with a scoop of salsa.Kendra Vaculin


Serves 6

For the chili:

  • 1 pound skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used one black, one Great Northern)
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
  • One 4-ounce can hot green chilies
  • One 12-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (optional)

For the topping:

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a large pot or deep saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add cubed chicken, garlic, coriander, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Cook until chicken is browned on all sides, then remove and set aside.
  3. Add chopped onion to the pot and cook down until soft and fragrant. Add beans, corn, chilies, and tomatoes, including the liquid. If there is not very much juice with the tomatoes, add up to 1/4 cup chicken stock. You don’t want a soupy chili at all, but enough liquid to cook everything together.
  4. Bring mix to a boil and allow to cook and thicken. When nearly done, add chicken and mix in, heating through to finish. Remove chili from heat.
  5. In a small pot, heat water and salt over medium high heat; it doesn’t need to be boiling. Stir in cornmeal and continue whisking while it incorporates the water and thickens, which should take about 5 minutes. When thick, add butter and mix in to melt. Remove from heat.
  6. In a deep round glass dish, pour all of the chili. Oh man. You just want to eat it now, don't you? Oh man. Now scoop the (essentially polenta) cornmeal mixture over the top of the chili, and spread into a single layer. Top with a sprinkling of black pepper.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until polenta has firmed up. Allow to cool briefly, and then scoop into bowls to serve.

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