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Chicken Tamale Pie From Scratch

Chicken Tamale Pie

Having a new kitchen is a lot of fun, but it can also be a little bit of a pain. You know how there are certain items that you just always have in your pantry? Yeah, chances are if you moved across country, and stored you kitchen stuff for over a month, you don’t have those items. This is especially true of condiments. I try and remember the basics when I go to the grocery, but it’s difficult to remember everything that you might like to have on your table at some point. That’s what happened to me as I went to put some delicious Cholula hot sauce on the table to go with this Chicken Tamale Pie. I was shocked to open my refrigerator and NOT find what is usually a staple in my house. Not to worry though, it turns out the Tamale Pie didn’t even need it!

We absolutely loved the flavor that was packed into this dish. It really did remind me of the tamales that I came to love in San Diego. I especially liked the texture of the crust, which was tender and moist, acting like a sponge for the enchilada sauce, but still just a bit crispy around the edges.

Now, I wanted to make each portion from scratch, so it took a little more time than most people want to spend on a weeknight. But, you could easily take some short cuts (like pre-cooked/shredded chicken or canned enchilada sauce) and turn this into a weeknight meal. Also, the enchilada sauce makes more than you will need, so you can throw it in the freezer for next time!

Chicken Tamale Pie From Scratch

Chicken for shredding
2 chicken breasts
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper
1 – 4 oz can green chiles

Cornbread crust
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup frozen corn, slightly thawe
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Enchilada sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup bell pepper, very finely chopped
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp dry parsley
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste

1/2-3/4 cup colby-jack or Mexican blend cheese
Sliced green onions, for topping
Sour cream and hot sauce for serving, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a small baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Generously butter a pie pan. Adjust racks so one is just above the middle and one is just below.

Sprinkle both sides with smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Place in the baking dish and top with green chiles. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Place the baking dish on the upper rack and set a timer for 45 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, butter, milk, and corn. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Pour into the prepared pie pan and use a spatula to smooth and fill the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven on the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown and the top looks set.

While the chicken and corn bread are baking, heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped bell pepper and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, water, and spices. Let simmer while the corn bread and chicken finish baking.

The cornbread should finish before the chicken. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool. When the chicken is finished, use two forks (or a standing mixer!) and shred in the baking dish then stir in 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce.

Pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the cornbread and use a spoon to spread evenly. Top with shredded chicken and chiles and then cheese. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then slice and top with green onions. Serve with sour cream and hot sauce if desired.

Inspired by Pinch of Yum

Here are some more delicious Mexican Inspired Dishes!

Mexican Lasagna
Barbacoa Beef for Burrito Bowls
Baked Rolled Tacos (Baked Taquitos)
Quinoa Mexican Soup

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Krystal

    Holy yum! This looks fantastic! Doesn’t it feel good to be cooking again with your beloved kitchen gadgets and in your own place! Makes you feel like you accomplished so much! Keep up the cooking while you can and start freezing some of these yummy meals for those lazy baby days.

    1. Jessica

      Yes, it feels great!! It’s funny how quickly you can get used to your own kitchen gadgets/supplies!

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