Granny’s Tamale Pie

IMG_0393I just made this last week from Cook’s Country’s Best Lost Suppers and it turned out fantastic!   One thing to keep in mind, it takes a long time to make with the 2 cooking cycles and also the prep time for cutting the vegetables.    The sauce is delicious.   I actually had to make a new batch with canned chicken stock.    The one adjustment I made was I didn’t enter the remaining oil at step 3.    It seemed like a lot of oil.

Serves 6 to 8 – Cook/Prep Time – 3 hrs.
To make the pie with white meat, use bone-in, skin-on split breasts and reduce the cooking time in step 2 by 20 minutes

IMG_0391Tamale Pie

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
   salt and pepper
½ cup vegetable oil
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15-ounce) can creamed corn
1 (6-ounce) can pitted black olives, drained and chopped
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
Boiling water

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper

1. Brown Chicken.   Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.   Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat until just smoking.   Cook half of chicken until well browned, about 5 minutes per side.   Transfer chicken to plate and discard skin.   Repeat with additional 1 ½ teaspoons oil and remaining chicken.

IMG_03882. Braise Chicken.   Stir broth into pot, scraping up and browned bits.   Add browned chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until chicken is fork-tender, about 1 hour.   Transfer chicken to plate.   When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside.   Strain broth, reserving 1 ½ cups for sauce.   (Save any remaining broth for another use.)

3. Cook Vegetables.   Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.   Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.   Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate.   Cook onion and ½ teaspoon salt in bacon fat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.   Stir in garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.   Add tomatoes, corn, olives, ½ teaspoon pepper, and remaining oil and bring to boil.

4. Make Base.   Whisk cornmeal, milk, and eggs in medium bowl until smooth.   Slowly pour cornmeal mixture into pot, stirring constantly to prevent clumping, and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.   Off heat, stir in reserved bacon.

5. Assemble and Bake.   Carefully pour half (about 4 cups) of cornmeal mixture into large bowl and reserve.    Smooth surface of remaining cornmeal mixture in pot, then top with shredded chicken.   Pour reserved cornmeal mixture evenly over chicken and smooth surface.   Arrange pot inside large roasting pan.   Place roasting pan on oven rack and carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach one-third of way up sides of Dutch oven.   Bake until cornmeal mixture is firm, dry, and lightly browned, 1 ½ to 2 hours.   Carefully remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.

6. Make Sauce.   While pie cools, toast flour in dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.   Stir in chili powder, cumin, and coriander and cook, stirring continually, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.   Stir in tomato sauce and reserved chicken broth and bring to boil.   Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper.   Serve, passing sauce at table.


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