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Chicken Tamale Pie
E. Marie Coakley
Serves 4 to 6
This recipe is in the New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne. Who doesn't like tamale pie? It's easy, delicious and wonderful for company - I'm not sure that home cooks bother with tamale pie any more ... it's one of my very favorite dishes, and was a real winner with the kids when they were growing up! All you need is a wonderful green salad on the side!
- 1 – 3# frying chicken cut into pieces, a large pot, enough water to cover
- 2 t. salt
- 12 whole peppercorns
- 2 ribs of celery, with the leaves (I like to use the heart)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 C. yellow corn meal (or Polenta)
- 2 T. butter
- 1/4 C. chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, crushed – more if you like
- 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped
- 1/4 t. dried oregano
- 1/4 t. dried thyme
- chili powder to taste
- 1 1/2 C. corn (be sure to scrape juice from the cob also)
- grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
Place chicken in a large pot, water to cover, salt, peppercorns, celery & bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer gently, skimming as necessary, until chicken is tender (30-40 minutes). Let chicken cool in broth. Remove the meat from the bones & strain the broth.
Place 1 1/2 C. broth into saucepan, boil. Combine cornmeal with 1/2 C. of the remaining broth; stir into boiling broth, cover & cook 10-15 minutes until mixture thickens.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cool the mush slightly and use to line the bottom and sides of a 2 1/2 quart casserole.
Melt butter; cook onions & garlic in butter till transparent. Add tomatoes and seasonings & simmer 15 minutes. Add corn & salt to taste.
Spread chicken over the center of the mush-lined casserole and cover with the tomato, corn mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 30 minutes.