By Rod Cohenour
As we transition from Summer into Fall we turn to things like stews, casseroles, and other tummy-filling, warming meals. One of the easiest (and also one of my favorites) was one that I learned from my mom growing up in New Mexico. It's called Rodrigo's Tamale Pie.
You need a large pan, probably a 9" x 13" casserole dish, or a disposable aluminum roaster type pan to make the pie. Another essential? You MUST buy at least a dozen delicious homemade tamales! My personal favorites are beef or pork tamales but any good tamales - even chicken or green chile will do.
This dish is yummy for the tummy without setting the tongue on fire. Give it a try. You'll be glad you did.
Rodrigo's Tamale Pie
* 1 to 1-1/2 dozen homemade tamales
* 2 cans Hatch mild red Chile enchilada sauce (10.5 oz cans)
* 1 sweet red onion, diced
* 1 can whole kernel corn , drained well
* 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
* 24 oz Mexican or Fiesta Blend grated cheese
* 1 large bag Fritos type corn chips, lightly crushed
* Non-stick butter flavored spray
1. Lightly spray bottom of the casserole pan.
2. Using about 1/2 can of enchilada sauce, spread evenly over the bottom of the casserole pan.
3. Cut tamales into 1" chunks. Use half tamales in one layer.
4. Top with one-third of the crushed corn chips.
5. Now layer half the onion, drained whole kernel corn and half the black beans over the chips.
6. Layer one-third of the grated cheese over the veggies.
7. Repeat these layers, starting by drizzling the second half of the first can of enchilada sauce over the cheese layer.
8. Use another THIRD of the corn chips in this layer and one-third of the grated cheese.
9. Spread the second can of enchilada sauce over all the layers.
10. Top with the last third of the cheese and the remaining one-third lightly crushed corn chips.
11. Bake casserole in 350° oven until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.
Serve hot, accompanied by warm tortillas, icy cold creamery butter, fresh guacamole, a crisp salad, crisp veggies like radishes and bell pepper strips, green onions, celery with a queso dip.
One of my favorite drinks with this dish is Mexican hot chocolate and of course, for those who prefer a cold drink, iced tea or lemonade.
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