Chicken Tamale Pie

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!
Course Main Course
Servings 4 - 6
Author E. Marie Coakley


  • 1 3 lbs frying chicken cut into pieces a large pot, enough water to cover
  • 2 t salt
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 2 ribs of celery with 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


  1. 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.