I’m no stranger to having tamales for the holidays. Growing up in Texas, I had a lot of friends that would eat tamales by the dozen on Christmas Day. My family typically stuck to a turkey or ham dinner, but I’d sometimes sneak a few tamales if I had to work on Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Tamales are love. Tamales are life. I don’t care what type of filling is inside of them—chicken, beef, pork, black beans. My favorite part of tamales is the delicate masa. I like a thick masa crust around my filling! I prefer a soft and crumbly masa that harbors a delectable and spicy filling. I’m salivating just thinking about tamales.
I found this recipe in my recipe box and knew I had to give it a whirl. I know pre-made, tube polenta isn’t the same thing as homemade masa, but they’re both corn based and crumbly like my beloved tamales. It worked perfectly for this recipe, and the spicy chicken filling worked well when paired with the cheesy polenta.
Give this recipe a try when you’re dreading cooking dinner on a weeknight—-it’s so simple to prepare and it makes a hearty meal!
Chicken Tamale Pot Pie
A casserole that mimics the flavors of delicious tamales, made with chicken, salsa verde, black beans and polenta.
- 2 TBS. olive oil
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
- 1 cup salsa verde
- 3 TBS. chopped cilantro
- 1 roll (1 lb.) premade polenta, sliced
- 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
- Heat 1 TBS. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, salt and pepper to skillet and saute for 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.
- I same skillet, heat remaining olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and stir in beans, corn, cumin and cilantro. Stir to combine. Add salsa and stir. Heat to boiling and then remove from heat.
- Spray a 11×7″ glass baking dish with cooking spray. Pour chicken mixture into pan and arrange slices of polenta over the top. Sprinkle with cheese and some more cilantro.
- Cover dish and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
In a large skillet, heat 1 TBS. olive oil over medium high heat. Add cubed chicken, salt and pepper and cook for 8 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken to plate.
In same skillet, add remaining olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook, stirring, until tender and translucent…about 3 minutes.
Return chicken to onion pan and stir in cumin, cilantro, beans, corn, and salsa. Heat to boiling, and then remove from heat.
Spoon chicken mixture into a prepared (sprayed with cooking spray) 11×7″ glass baking dish. Top chicken mixture with sliced polenta and then sprinkle with cheese and some more cilantro.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Uncover and then continue to bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.