Friday, July 27, 2012

Spicy Chicken Tamale Pie

Spicy Chicken Tamale Pie recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Red chile, green chile and chipotle peppers are all combined in this dish and then topped with a unique tamale crust. With fresh corn, black beans, plenty of chicken and loads of great Mexican spice; this had a good bit more heat than I expected. My whole family loved this, even my non-spice eater requested seconds. (Apparently, he has now decided that his aversion to spicy heat is only with green chile filled dishes.) If you aren't accustomed to spicy foods, I would recommend using about half the can of chipotle peppers instead of the full amount listed below.

When Sue posted her version of this recipe last week, I immediately decided to make this for dinner that same night. My family eats a lot of Mexican food, but this was a different kind of flavor than I expected. Smokey, spicy heat flavored every bite of this meal.

When I tasted the filling as it was simmering, I couldn't resist how delicious it was. I dished up the above serving over some leftover rice and we snacked on that as we waited for the pie to finish cooking. It was so good that I almost didn't bother making the crust, but I'm glad I did. Both versions of this meal were delicious. Thank you for the excellent recipe, Sue!

Spicy Chicken Tamale Pie
recipe adapted from The View from Great Island
(printable recipe)

3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 tablespoon coconut oil or light flavor olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped small
1 green bell pepper, chopped small
1 cup red chile enchilada sauce
7 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped with sauce
10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chile
1 cup dark Mexican beer
1 tablespoon NM red chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, black pepper would be fine here as well
2 ears of corn, kernels removed or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon masa harina dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute for 7-8 minutes, until the begin to soften. Add the enchilada sauce, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, beer, chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and add the chicken. Stir again and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the corn and beans, simmer for another 15 minutes and then taste to check the seasonings. Add the masa/water mixture to the sauce and stir. This should slightly thicken the sauce. Cook for a minute or two more and then remove from the heat. Serve over rice and enjoy as is OR pour the chili into a casserole dish at this point and make the topping below.

Tamale Topping

1 cup masa harina
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup butter, very soft
3/4 - 1 cup hot water, I used about a cup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the masa and the salt and blend the butter into it with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be dry and crumbly. Stir in enough very warm water to make a smooth and spreadable dough. Keep adding water until the mixture is spreadable. (If you do not add enough water, the topping will not spread smoothly across the casserole and it will not cook evenly.) Spoon the masa topping across the casserole and then spread it out as evenly as possible to prevent the filling from bubbling out while it cooks.

Place the casserole dish into a larger baking pan and then pour very hot water into the larger pan up to about halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. Cover the entire casserole, outside pan with water too, as tightly as possible with foil. This creates the steam that will cook the masa topping.

Very carefully move the hot water bath and the casserole to the middle rack of the oven. Cook for about an hour, until the topping is cooked through. Remove the foil and cook about 5 more minutes just to barely brown the top. Serve warm with sour cream if desired. Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Tamale Pie recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Chicken Salad Wraps


  1. I'm so glad you made this, I'm newly addicted to tamale dough and now I want to put it on everything. Speaking of which, I want to make a green chili today and I'm off to search your site for ideas, I've never made it before.

  2. I was eyeing this recipe too. The tamale topping sounds great. I always loved those as a kid and it was a treat when mom would heat them (tamales) up for dinner. Have a great weekend!

  3. What a great summertime one-dish meal!

  4. I am very glad I found this recipe before I went grocery shopping for the week. This looks SO very good. Thank you for sharing it. Now I know what we're having for dinner on Monday night!

  5. Do you seed your chipotle chiles or just throw them in whole?

  6. I love masa harina. I use it to make pupusas. Great recipe!