This easy Chicken Tamale Pie recipe has a masa corn base, filled with chicken, chipotle peppers and sweet potatoes with a cheesy topping for a fiesta of taste!
If you love tamales as much as I do, you’re going to want to save this chicken tamale casserole recipe for future reference.
I felt like a mad scientist when I came up with this recipe, and was a bit scared as I pulled it out of the oven and cut into it. I took one bite and completely swooned. I’ve been really, really, really excited to share this recipe with you, because it is freakin’ delicious!
Many Chicken Tamale Pie recipes I’ve seen call for a base that is closer to corn bread than it is to an actual tamale. I love corn bread as much as the next gal, but when I’m craving tamales I need that tamale flavor!
The secret to getting the tamale base in this dish to come out right is to cook it in a water bath. Be smart and pour the boiling water into the pan holding your baking dish after you’ve put it in the oven. Don’t try to carry a tray of boiling hot water from your counter to your oven, or you will regret it.
Tamales can be an all-day production (I know, I’ve done it!), but if you’ve got a little over an hour before dinner, go ahead and use up some leftover chicken to make this meal. Your family will love it! The husband and I completely scarfed ours down and I was in tamale heaven.
The chicken is coated in enchilada sauce so it comes out moist and flavorful. Can’t wait any longer? Get to it, missy (mister?).
Sweet Potato and Chipotle Chicken Tamale Pie Recipe
Tamale Pie Base
- 1/3 c. lard
- 1 cup masa harina - instant corn flour
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. Goya all-purpose seasoning - or salt
- 2/3 c. chicken broth or water
- 1 8oz can of red enchilada sauce, divided
- 1 cup shredded - cooked chicken breast
- 1 cup peeled sweet potato - cut into half-inch cubes
- 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce - minced
- 1 tsp. Goya all-purpose seasoning - or salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 cup Shredded Jack - Montery, or Oaxaca Cheese
- 4 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 4 Tbsp. chopped scallions
Make the Base
- 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.
Make the Filling
- Combine 2 Tablespoons of enchilada sauce, the shredded chicken, sweet potato, chipotle peppers, Goya (or salt), and cumin in a large bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.
Assemble and Bake
- Scoop the tamale dough into a 9x9 baking dish and smooth with a spatula. Spread 3 Tablespoons of enchilada sauce over the top of the dough.
- Arrange the filling mixture evenly over the top of the sauce.
- Cover the dish with foil, then place 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 top with the remaining enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the tamale base is set and the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
- Serve topped with chopped cilantro and scallions.