Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mexican Comfort Food

Who is in the mood here for some Mexican comfort food? Raise your hands. 

I've been drooling over this dish for some time now.
One look and I was totally hooked. There was no escape for me. 

I knew I HAD to make it. HAD TO.

Melty cheese, chicken and some spicy enchilada sauce sitting on a bed of moist, soft, sweet corn pudding?


This is SO delicious! This is the kind of dish that will make you popular with the in-laws or at any party.

Life-changing possibly.

Meet some of the cast of ingredients.  Lovely!

Cheese makes the world so much better, don't you think?

Drizzle some enchilada sauce on the sweet corn tamale base
Top with some spicy shredded chicken
then LOTS of grated cheese


recipe seen at Pinch of Yum adapted from Cooking Light
jiffy corn mix recipe adapted from Recipe Secrets

For the chicken
3 pairs chicken breasts (total of 6 single breasts)
salt and pepper 

cooking oil
half of 1 medium onion, sliced 
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

For the tamale base (jiffy corn mix copycat)
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp canola oil

1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 can cream of corn

1 -10 oz can enchilada sauce, HOT (spicy)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
chopped cilantro

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken breasts one by one until they have a nice brown color on the outside and the inside is cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side or longer. Add more oil if necessary. Remove from the heat and shred the meat into slightly thick chunks.

Heat another tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and onions. Cook until the onions have softened and are translucent. Add the shredded chicken meat. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, paprika and cumin. Stir until all the chicken meat is well coated with the paste and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius.  Butter an 8x8 inch square baking dish.

Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the oil and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs and the lumps are gone. Whisk the milk, egg and sugar in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the cream of corn and mix until just combined.

Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until it is set. 

Reduce the temperature to 175 degrees Celsius. Pierce the surface of the tamale (corn pudding) with a fork. Pour the enchilada sauce over the tamale base. Spread the cooked chicken meat over the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Top with some chopped cilantro. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

NOTE: Do not let the whole dish stay at room temperature for 20 minutes or longer after you pour on the enchilada sauce like I did (had to do some other errands in between baking) because it sort of dries up on top of the tamale. It was not noticeable after baking but wouldn't you love the sauce drizzling over the sides after you cut a slice?