Chicken tamale pie

Chicken tamale pie



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 green capsicum, finely diced
  • 1 red capsicum, finely diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder or 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes + 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 corn cobs, kernels removed from husk
  • shredded meat from thighs and legs of a cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 green onions/shallots, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup pitted olives, chopped


Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add onion, capsicums and garlic. Saute over a gentle heat until softened.

Stir in chipotle powder/smoked paprika and chilli, cumin. Cook for one minute. Add milk, water and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Gradually stir in polenta until the mixture thickens. Return to a simmer.

Cook over a low heat, stirring regularly, for around 15-20 minutes until mixture thickens. Stir in corn kernels (or, if you have a child who doesn’t like them – as I do – steam them to sprinkle on top at the end).

Pour half of the polenta mixture into a flat casserole dish. Top with the shredded chicken and half the cheese. Pour the rest of the mixture over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Allow casserole to cool.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and the cheese is bubbly.

Serve with dollops of sour cream and sprinkled with shallots, coriander and olives (or whatever combination your kids prefer).

More Mexican recipes

Serving Suggestions


  • A tamale is a traditional Mexican dish that is meat wrapped up in a cornmeal dough and then steamed or baked in corn husks. I have taken this idea as inspiration for my tamale pie, using polenta as my cornmeal dough.
  • This recipe was created by Alana House for Kidspot, New Zealand's best recipe finder. You can follow Alana at Housegoeshome and on Twitter.

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