Unlike other Tamale pies that start with a corn bread crust, this one uses masa harina typical of traditional tamales. It is then steam-baked in the oven and topped with salsa, salsa verde, sour cream, or you favorite hot sauce.
Prepare the filling. Combine 1 to 1-1/2 lbs of shredded meat with 1 cup of Salsa Verde. If you are using diced onions, fiesta corn, and sliced olives, adds them here. Note: Shredded rotisserie chicken makes this recipe super easy for any weeknight meal.
Prepare Dough. Combine masa, warm chicken broth, baking powder, salt, and oil in a large bowl, Mix together until the dough has the consistency of a soft paste. Cover & let rest for at least 15 minutes at room temperature so the dough can thoroughly absorb the liquid ingredients
Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly oil a 9 x 9-inch (2-1/2 quart) casserole dish. This will not quite fit in an 8 x 8-inch (2-quart) dish. NOTE: If you do not have a 2-1/2 quart casserole, move up to a 13x9-inch (3-quart) dish to prevent spillage.
Form the Bottom Tamale Layer. Press half of the tamale dough into the casserole dish forming a thin bottom layer. With your fingers, a fork, or a small spatula, press the mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides, about 1/4- inch thick.
Add the Filling. Spoon the meat mixture prepared earlier evenly over the entire dough surface.
Prepare the top tamale layer. Spread the remaining tamale dough over the filling, trying to make the top portion about the same thickness as the bottom. Do this by spreading the dough out on a piece of plastic wrap and then inverting it over the tamale casserole and then peeling back the plastic wrap. If it tears a little bit, don't worry! It will come together during baking.
Create the Steam Bath. Fill a large roasting pan with about 2 inches of hot water. Place the uncovered tamale casserole into the water bath. Cover both the tamale casserole and roaster pan with one layer of aluminum foil and place in oven. The water will steam the tamale and cook it all the way through.
Bake. Bake for 45 to 60-minutes or until the Masa layer is set. Let it cool slightly (10-minutes) before serving so it holds its form.
Serve. Serve warm with pico de gallo, salsa verde, sour cream, cheese sauce, enchilada sauce, crumbled cheese, chopped onions, or a traditional red salsa. There's no wrong way to eat a tamale!
Store. Store any leftover tamale pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Freeze. Alternatively, tamale pie may also be frozen in smaller portions and reheated in the microwave. This makes a quick and easy weekday lunch. Warm at 50% power until heated through.
Masa Harina is the traditional fine corn flour used to make tortillas, tamales, and other Mexican dishes.
Chicken broth - may substitute water or drippings from cooking the shredded pork.
Salsa Verde - Also called Green Salsa is made with green tomatillos, onion, garlic, Chile peppers and seasoned with cumin, cilantro and salt. There really isn't a substitute for this sauce! If you absolutely must, try a red salsa.
Fiesta Corn - Corn mixed with red & green peppers. Sold both canned and frozen. This ingredient is optional and may be omitted without substitution or alteration to the rest of the recipe.
Stuffed Green Olives - If you do not care for olives, feel free to omit them without substitution. This ingredient is optional and may be omitted without substitution or alteration to the rest of the recipe.
Onions - Spanish white onions, diced small. This ingredient is optional and may be omitted without substitution or alteration to the rest of the recipe.