This tamale pie, takes a simpler approach, but, it hits all of the the flavor points with a sweet and spicy explosion of taste. The corn topping is sweet, and the spice and traditional flavors are in the filling. In this dish, I used chicken instead of pork, but the flavor palate is still intense and uniquely Mexican.
For the filling you'll need:
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
4 oz light whipped cream cheese
1 cup mild/medium/hot salsa
2/3 cup low fat half & half
2 cups chopped roasted chicken
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tsp taco seasoning
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
For the topping:
1 8.5 oz. box of corn muffin mix
1 cup of cream style corn
1/4 cup of buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a stove top saute pan, over medium-high heat, cook the chopped onion and jalapeno pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
After the veggies have become tender, add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 4 ounces of whipped light cream cheese and 1 cup of salsa. You can use mild, medium or hot salsa, it's your preference. Cook on medium-low heat until the cream cheese has melted.
In a small mixing bowl, mix together the corn muffin mix, cream style corn and buttermilk until the ingredients are evenly moistened. Set aside.
Pour the filling into the baking dish and sprinkle 3/4 cup of shredded Mexican cheese blend on top.
Spread the corn batter evenly over the filling, then place into the oven.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the edges are bubbly. Use a toothpick inserted into the corn bread topping to be certain it's done all the way through before removing the dish from the oven.
Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, and serve with fresh pico de gallo and a dollop of sour cream. Yield: 6 servings
This tamale pie is also delicious served with a smoky mole sauce drizzled on top just before serving.