This Chicken Tamale Casserole recipe is a mouthful and a hot mess, that is absolutely a delicious mix of flavors that will have a Tex Mex party in your mouth!
Remember that sweet and smoky barbecue sauce recipe I shared earlier this week? Well, this is the part where it’s BACK, baby.
Let me clarify that what this dish lacks in beauty it more than makes up for in taste.
The Chicken Tamale Casserole base is made from tamale dough; the same recipe I use when making regular tamales! The secret to getting it to come out right (and not gummy and gross) is baking it in a water bath.
Trust me, I KNOW that sounds like a lot of work. I mean, you have to heat up water. Probably in the microwave.
Then you have to take out TWO baking dishes instead of one. Then you have to place your casserole dish on top of a rimmed baking sheet and put it on the oven. Just when you’re ready to pass out from sheer exhaustion, you have to pour the hot water into the baking sheet. When will it end!?
I kid, I kid. But in all seriousness, I don’t know why water baths always sound like so much work to me. It’s easy. Just do it.
I use my regular 9 x 13 ceramic casserole dish and set it in my big ol’ roasting pan (here is the one I use from Amazon). It’s not pretty, but it works!
The tamale dough comes together with an electric mixer (hand or stand!), and the rest is as easy as layer and assemble.
I topped mine with some pickled jalapenos and red onions (instructions: slice and soak in vinegar while dinner is in the oven).
Alright, ready to whip up a whole mess of deliciousness?
Here’s the Recipe!
Chicken Tamale Casserole Recipe
Tamale Pie Base
- 2/3 c. lard
- 2 cup masa harina
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. Goya all-purpose seasoning - or salt
- 1 1/3 c. chicken broth or water
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 2 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
- 8 ounces Monterrey Jack Cheese - shredded
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup sliced red onion
- 1 Jalapeno - sliced
- Extra BBQ Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and keep hot.
- Beat the lard with a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of an electric mixer until fluffy (60-90 seconds). Add in in the masa harina, chili powder, cumin, baking powder, and salt. Beat until all ingredients are well incorporated and there are no lumps. Slowly add in the chicken broth or water a little at a time until the mixture resembles the consistency of cake icing. Beat for another 6 minutes, then set aside for 15 minutes to let the ingredients moisten and rise.
- Combine the BBQ sauce with the shredded chicken and corn in a large bowl. Toss to coat.
- Scoop the tamale dough out into a 13" x 9" baking dish and smooth with a spatula (or your hands).
- Spread the chicken and corn mixture evenly over the top of the sauce. Add black beans on top, followed by all of the shredded cheese.
- Cover the dish with foil, using toothpicks to keep the foil from touching the cheese and sticking. Place the casserole dish on top of a rimmed baking sheet or other large oven-proof dish with tall sides (such as a roasting pan), and place in the oven. Once in the oven, pour the very hot water into the rimmed baking sheet so the tamale pie bakes in a bath of about two inches of water.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the tamale base is set and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, place the sliced red onion and sliced jalapeno in separate bowls. Cover with vinegar and let sit 1 hour to pickle.
- When tamale pie is done, remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes. Top with chopped cilantro, scallions, pickled red onion and jalapeno. Serve with extra BBQ sauce.