Get the Family Together to Enjoy This Meal
Tamales have been around since an estimated five to eight thousand years BC. That's a long time. For some, it seems like it takes that long to make tamales. If you don't live in the Southwest, you may have never tried one. If you do live in the Southwest, chances are you have paid a store or your friend's grandmother over $1 per tamale to enjoy this dish. Tamales are time consuming, rightfully so, as they are a way to bring a family together. But you can still enjoy the flavor while bringing your family together for a weeknight meal.
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- 1 small Yellow Onion, Diced
- 1 Jalapeno, Diced, seeded(for mild)
- 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 lb Chicken
- 1 can Black Beans, Drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups Enchilada Sauce or Salsa
- 1 1/2 cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth, Reduced Sodium
- 3/4 cups Corn Meal
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2-3 Green Onions, Sliced, tops and bottoms separated
- To Taste Salt & Pepper
- Optional Frijole Seasoning
- 12 oz Sharp Cheddar, Freshly Shredded ( I always use Cracker Barrel)
- Sour Cream, For serving
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Heat olive oil in a 10 inch, oven proof(cast iron or high heat rated), skillet over medium heat, and cook chicken until done but juicy. I used thinly sliced chicken breast to speed this up on a week night. You can also use leftover chicken or pork. Season with Frijole seasoning if desired. Salt and pepper. Remove to a plate to cool. Clean skillet if necessary by adding 1/2 inch water and returning to the hot stove to boil the cooked bits from the bottom. Empty and wipe clean with a paper towel.
- In the same skillet, heat a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Add the yellow onion, white onion bottoms, and jalapeño. Salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook until the odor is released. Add 1/2 cup of the broth, black beans, salsa or enchilada sauce, chili powder, and cumin. Bring to a low simmer for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the corn meal for cooking.
- In a medium saucepan mix the remaining 1 cup of broth, 1 cup of water, and corn meal. *Remove your chicken mixture from the heat* Bring the corn meal to a simmer and stir, continuously, for 5 minutes until thick. The mixture will thicken as it begins to simmer. Keep stirring rapidly for 5 additional minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of butter and 3/4 of the cheese. Salt and pepper. I use a thermally safe spatula to stir. This helps you keep the mixture from burning in the pan. It also helps with the next step - which is to spread the corn meal mixture over the chicken. Pour the corn meal in the center of the skillet and use the spatula to smooth it outwards. Be careful to not press too hard so the corn meal and chicken stay separated.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the corn meal. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. The dish will look soupy when it first comes out of the oven. Spoon into bowls and serve with sour cream and the tops of the green onions.
Out of the Oven
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© 2018 Melissa Althen