Chicken Tamale Pie

Are you a fan of a more traditional Mexican Tamale yet hate all that tedious work involved and time spent in the kitchen? You are going to love this recipe then, all the traditional flavors without all the traditional work involved. Made with real homemade Masa Harina dough, shredded chicken, Spanish sauces, and seasonings that will please any tamale lover.

I love Tamales, however, I have to tell you spending hours wrapping up one of my favorite foods almost drives me insane. If you have a nice gathering of friends of the family members the task becomes more simple to carry out. If you have ever tried to make these bad babies by yourself you know it’s seriously time-consuming and tedious work.

Chicken Tamale PieThe other night, I decided I really wanted Tamales,  yet inwardly I knew that making them would take forever; was my craving for Tamales worth the intense labor of making them? I then thought about the casserole my co-worker had brought to our work potluck last month. She called it a “Tamale Pie”,  in reality, it was really good chili with a cornbread crust for the top of the chili casserole. I enjoyed eating it, however, having spent quality time in Mexico over the years; I knew that was no Tamale Pie.

Sifting through some of my favorite Mexican recipes for Tamales I decided to use her pie idea except with the real deal when it came to ingredients. No chili and cornbread recipe would take away my Tamale craving I knew that much.

Chicken Tamale Pie

Now, don’t worry most well-stocked markets have a specialty section with all the ingredients to make this recipe for Tamale Pie or even Tamales for that fact. If you do not have a well-stocked market, chances are they may still have the Masa Harina, dried Ancho Peppers, Spanish Style tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with chiles, cilantro, lard or vegetable shortening you need for this recipe.

Chicken Tamale Pie 

For the Masa Dough

  • 3 cups of Masa Harina
  • 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 of a cup of cold lard or vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda

For the filling

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 3 cups of shredded cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1-10-ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1-8-ounce can of Spanish style tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of organic frozen corn
  • 1/4 of a cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 dried ancho peppers reconstituted
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 of a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • kosher salt to own taste
  • fresh ground pepper to own taste



For the Masa Dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine Masa Harina and the low-sodium chicken broth.
  2. Stir the Masa Harina and the chicken broth until thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Combine the ice-cold lard or vegetable shortening, kosher salt, and baking powder by using an electric mixer, beat the mixture at medium-high speed until slightly whipped, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add 1/4 of the ready/rehydrated masa at a time to the whipped lard, beating between the additions of masa until completely incorporated. The masa should be soft and spreadable.
  5. Cover the prepared masa dough with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour to rest before using.

For the Filling

  1. Place a large metal skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil to heat. Once the oil has heated add chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook till softened about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add shredded chicken breast to the large skillet, stir thoroughly.
  3. Next add diced tomatoes with chilies, Spanish-Style tomato sauce. frozen organic corn, chopped cilantro, reconstituted Ancho peppers, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to own taste. Stir to mix ingredients thoroughly. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on low heat.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Remove the premade masa dough from refrigerator, discard the plastic wrap, and re-whip the masa dough by adding a small amount of broth or water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to return it to original texture.
  6. Lightly grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or 3-quart oven-safe casserole dish with an oil, or cooking spray to prevent Tamale Pie from sticking.
  7. Scrape about  2/3 of masa dough into the cast iron skillet or oven safe baking dish and press to form an even thin layer on bottom and edge of the cast iron skillet.
  8. Next add the chicken filling to the cast iron skillet evenly, do not overload skillet, reserve some of the chicken fillings; if you notice it will not easily fit in cast iron skillet.
  9. Add the remaining masa dough to the top of chicken filling, forming a top crust with remaining 1/3 masa, binding it with the edge of the bottom masa dough.
  10. Wipe any masa dough from the edge of cast iron skillet.
  11. Bake tamale pie til lightly golden on top, 45 minutes to 55 minutes.
  12. Let cool slightly, then slice and serve with favorite sauce.


© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2018-2013 unauthorized use and/or duplication of content/ material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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