Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tamale Casserole

After many years of dieting, lifestyle changes, and "I'll just eat healthier and eat less" resolutions, I have learned to embrace tex-mex. It's very flavorful and easily adapted to be low-fat. It can also often be made as a one-dish meal. This tamale casserole is packed with vegetables and fiber. I managed to get away with using a minimal amount of meat and it still tasted absolutely delicious. It can be easily made without meat or with a meat substitute as well.

Well, I'm still battling my fat demons, but at least I learned to cook along the way. And frankly, this blog has been great for curbing my snacking. It's kind of ironic that staring at photographs of food all day has helped me in this way. I guess that thinking about food all day is satisfying the gluttonous part of me.

Tamale Casserole
(this is a franken-recipe, created from Cook's Illustrated Skillet Tamale Pie, and Bergy's Hot Tamale Casserole from Recipezaar)

Tamale Filling:

cooking spray
1 Large onion, minced
1/2 large red pepper, chopped
2 Tblsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 Tblsp. ground cumin
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
9 oz. shredded cooked chicken
1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles, drained slightly
1lb. frozen corn
2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tblsp. fresh cilantro, minced
pepper to taste

Cornbread Topping:

3/4 c all-purpose flour (3 3/4 oz)
3/4 c yellow cornmeal (3 3/4 oz)
3 Tblsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c buttermilk
1 large egg
2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 jalapeno, diced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pre-heat a skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the onion, red pepper, chili powder, salt and cumin and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook another 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the shredded chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes and frozen corn and cook until heated through. Stir in the cheddar and cilantro and season to taste.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until combined.

Spoon the filling into a medium casserole dish (2-3 qt.) and then spread the cornbread batter evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and minced jalapeno over the batter and bake in the oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes. The cornbread topping should be cooked through and golden brown.


RecipeGirl said...

Looks like great comfort food!

A. Grace said...

well, thanks a lot. i just drooled all over myself. :)

looks gorgeous and delicious!

Anonymous said...

YUM! Definintely adding this to my "must make" list. Totally agree with your statement about Tex-Mex being adaptable for a healthy diet. All those black beans, tomatoes and peppers - as long as you use lean meats and reduced-fat cheeses - you can't go wrong! My hubby would devour this (and I heart cornbread!)

chiff0nade said...

Yes, as a PROFESSIONAL CHEF graduated from Peter Kump's Culinary Institute in my hometown, Brooklyn NY, I have to say that your tamale casserole sounds interesting.

I have to tell you that I fixed my boyfriend, "Big Bear" a fake crabmeat casserole for xmas dinner, and he became enraged . . . throwing my wonderful casserole through the window of my rented trailer house, and then POKING his fist through the window of the trailer house.

So, I am going to try to make him happy by fixing him a new casserole using your recipe.

As a SENIOR ADVISOR for my dear friend, Ed Levine's website SeriouEasts, I will post my evaluation on the site.

Thanky you very much.

MichMash said...

My boyfriend has the flu, and I wanted to make some comfort food besides mac & cheese, this was perfect! It came out great, pretty much foolproof, but looks and tastes complex. I loved it, my family did too. I used a cornbread mix though, to save time.
Thanks for posting!

Suzanne said...

Thanks guys! I couldn't believe how good this tasted considering how healthy it is. If I could just figure out 200 or so more recipes like it, I would be a supermodel! Or not..

Suzanne said...

Wow, chiff0nade, I hope your house has since recovered! Thank you for the professional opinion and evaluation!

Sophie said...

We would like to feature this recipe (and the picture) on our blog. We will give the recipe authors credit, but we really like how you've presented the dish :).

Please email if interested.

Thanks :)


Anonymous said...

Wow... My husband and I just made this tonight and it is bursting with flavors! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I also used a cornbread mix from TJ's to save time and it came out great!