Tamale Casserole tastes just like your favorite homemade tamales, minus the hours of preparation that tamales require. What I love most about this recipe is the yummy masa dough that serves as the "crust" for all the delicious filling. This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover chicken or beef from grilling.
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Ingredients to have on hand
- Red peppers
- Green salsa
- Pepper Jack cheese
- chicken or leftover beef or pork
- Instant Corn Masa Mix
- Smoked paprika
- Red enchilada sauce
My favorite Salsa
When it comes to choosing the salsa for this recipe, I love the Hatch Valley green salsa from New Mexico, "505 Southwestern" but any green salsa works great. It's also delicious with homemade guacamole, which I also highly recommend.
Meat Options for Tamale Casserole
One of the best things about this recipe is how versatile it is. I use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, already cooked and ready to go. But you can easily use leftover roast, shredded or diced; cooked pork, diced; or opt for a vegetarian option and substitute with black beans.
Great Way to Use Grilling Leftovers
If you use leftover beef or pork from grilling such as a tri-tip or carne asada, keep in mind how heavily seasoned or marinated those cuts of meat may have been. When that's the case, I recommend we cut the salt in the tamale crust by about half.
Delicious The Next Day
Of all the main meals I prepare, this one makes the absolute best leftovers. The flavors blend and the tamale crust sets up more firmly so casserole is even better than when it's piping hot from the oven. Though, it's excellent then too!
Making the Crust
As crusts go, this one is about as easy as it gets. Don't worry about making the crust perfect. Just pat it in place and ensure it's equally distributed across the bottom of the pan.
Tips and FAQ
The enchilada sauce adds some spicy flavor to each serving, but as an option instead of the enchilada sauce, serve a wedge of the casserole with a big scoop of salsa and guacamole instead. Delicious!
That's probably one of the most important steps to ensure this turns out great! The tamale crust is quite soft, so giving it at least 10 minutes after baking to rest helps all the ingredients "set" and allows for easier serving.