When I was growing up, one of my favorite dinners was tamale pie. My mom made a vegetarian version, which still remains in my top 5 meals (sorry, I've been holding out -- I'll share it soon!). In case you're unfamiliar with the concept of tamale pie, it's a baked casserole, the filling consisting of various vegetables, perhaps meat, Mexican spices, and topped with cornbread. Yeah. It's good.
This version is pretty much a 180 from the tamale pie I had growing up, but I love it just as much. The filling is chicken, poblano peppers, corn, hominy, and cheddar. Topped with cornbread batter and baked, it is so comforting -- basically this is a Mexican-inspired chicken pot pie with cornbread instead of a pie crust on top. As Ina would say, "How bad can that be?"
It's also a pretty light dinner, especially for something so filling and comforting. It comes in at under 400 calories per serving, which makes this calorie-counting woman very happy. Paired with a green salad, this made for a really wonderful dinner, and a few days worth of awesome lunches as well!
So I noticed that this is the third skillet dinner in a row that I've posted… hope you guys love them as much as we do! Long live the skillet!
Skillet Chicken Tamale Pie
adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Healthy Family Cookbook
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (15-oz) can hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 (7-oz) can mild chopped green chiles, drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 3 Tbs sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Pat the chicken dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook 6 to 8 minutes, flipping once, until it is golden-brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the fat in the pan.
Add the onion, poblano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the pan and cook until it's softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and flour and cook an additional minute.
Stir in the broth, hominy, chiles, and corn, and bring to as mimer. Nestle the chicken in tot he mixture, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet, and once it's cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the skillet and stir to combine. Stir in the cheddar and cilantro, taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm while you make the cornbread topping.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, just until no streaks of flour can be seen, then stir in the melted butter and cheddar cheese.
Drop spoonfuls of the batter over the chicken filling, then smooth the top into an even layer, covering the filling completely.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden and set. Cool for 10 minutes before scooping into bowls and serving.