Friday, May 21, 2010

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Our family LOVES mexican-style food. Well, everyone except the oldest rugrat, but she eats it. It is impossible to duplicate authentic mexican food using the products that are on store shelves and the products on store shelves are often filled with preservatives, coloring and are loaded with GMO products. So, I have been making mexican food from scratch for many years. Enchiladas are a favorite of mine but I have yet to make them the right way, using corn husks and boiling them individually for my family. This recipe uses all those flavors and still comes out pretty good. Its quicker to make than individual enchiladas and a favorite at our house. I usually make the sauce early in the day and throw the casserole together in the evening. You can use any meat you want. If you have leftover pork, it makes a great enchilada. Just shred the meat, add the seasonings and use as a filling. I like to use chicken and find that ground beef is equally as delicious. You can also make this with just cheese. Use about 2 cups of cheese and a can of chopped green chilies and add the sauce below.

First you have to make the 
Enchilada Sauce
12 red Chili pods
2 cups boiling water
1 quart chicken stock
1 T cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 T flour
1 tsp sea salt

Place chili pods in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them and allow them to soak for at least one hour. Mash them in the bowl. Pour the liquid through a strainer into a pot and discard the chili pods. Add all the remaining ingredients except the salt. Cook for 2 hours on low, allowing sauce to reduce to about 2-3 cups. Add the salt and use in the recipe below.

1 pound of chicken (or ground beef or cooked pork)
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cups of above Enchilada sauce
1-2 cups of grated cheese(reserve for topping)

Place the meat in a large skillet and brown over medium heat. When cooked, drain the fat and add the onion, cooking till the onion is slightly translucent. Add the seasonings and sauce and mix well. Heat through, bringing to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook on low for about 10 minutes while you prepare the crust.

3 cups masa harina
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups water
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large bowl and mix well. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking dish. Place the dough, which will be soft and slightly sticky in the baking dish. Press down lightly with your fingers, spreading the dough out evenly over the entire dish, and up the sides about an inch. Pour the filling onto the crust. Top with grated cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crust is lightly brown and cooked through.

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