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Easy Chicken Tamale Casserole. A layer of moist, savory cornbread is topped with chicken, enchilada sauce and cheese. Makes an easy weeknight meal or festive addition to your Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Easy Chicken Tamale Casserole

Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend divided
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil or your preferred oil (only for mixes that don't contain a fat, see recipe notes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 14.75 ounce can of creamed corn
  • 1 8.5 ounce box of corn muffin mix
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped mild green chiles drained
  • 1 10 ounce can red enchilada sauce (mild, med or hot)
  • 2 cups pre-cooked shredded chicken breast

Toppings/garnishes:

  • sour cream or plain yogurt
  • chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9" baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the cheese (save the rest for later,) milk, egg, cumin, cayenne pepper, creamed corn, corn muffin mix and drained chiles. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 15 minutes or until set.

  3. Remove pan from oven and use a fork to poke holes all over the surface of the cornbread. Pour a little more than 1/2 of the enchilada sauce evenly over the pierced surface, using a spatula to help spread it evenly.

  4. Scatter shredded chicken evenly over the sauce, then drizzle the balance of the sauce over the chicken. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.

  5. Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. This will make for easier cutting. Cut into 8 pieces and top each with sour cream and chopped cilantro, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*There are many different cornbread mixes available. If I'm taking this shortcut and not making the cornbread mix from scratch, I pick a mix that has simple ingredients, like Bob's Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills. I avoid mixes that have hydrogenated oils in them. Read the ingredients of your cornbread mix; most of them contain oil already in the mix. If it has oil, hydrogenated or otherwise, follow the recipe as written without the adding the olive oil. If you use a mix like Bob's Red Mill, that doesn't contain oil, add the 2 Tablespoons of oil listed in the recipe.

*The best way to drain the chiles is to remove them from the can. Put them into a strainer and gently press. I've found that simply trying to drain them while they're still in the can (pushing the lid on top of the chiles) doesn't really drain much of the liquid. They don't have to be bone dry, but it's better if they're not wet and dripping.

*This is one of the recipes where I use my Recipe Ready Roasted Chicken.

*Pre-shredded cheese is a nice short cut and I used it in the recipe to keep it fast and easy. If you don't mind shredding your own cheese, grab some Monterey Jack and some cheddar cheese (or pepper jack, if you like the extra spice) and use that. It will taste and melt better.

*If you don't like any bit of heat in the dish, omit the ground cayenne pepper and make sure you buy MILD green chiles and MILD enchilda sauce.

Adapted from Cooking Light

All photos and text by The Merchant Baker

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