Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 18: Corn and Green Chile Tamale Casserole

My best friend, who is going on nine months pregnant, is nesting. When I was nine months pregnant, three years ago right now, all of our discretionary income was going one of two places: into baby stuff, and to the grocery store. It was shortly before Memorial Day and all of the grocery stores had Memorial Day picnic food on sale, including what I thought was the greatest sale of all time: buy two packs of Ball Park hot dogs, get three free. I think that at one point there may have been twenty packs of hot dogs in my freezer.

Kimberly is doing what I would have been doing, were I not too busy buying every package of hot dogs in Southern Maryland: she's making casseroles and freezing them. I didn't bother--my mother was coming for three weeks, my mother-in-law was coming for another ten days beyond that. I figured I'd need something to give them to do, and cooking kept them from driving me totally, hormonally insane. Also, my mother seemed eager to indulge every whim that I had.

Kimberly claims that I am a fussy eater. I think that's the pot calling the kettle black. I can't remember if she eats all of this stuff or not, but this looks delicious, and like it would freeze well. I think it'd be great with baked chicken, or pork chops, or even just some pasta tossed with garlic and butter. If you look around a little, you should be able to find frozen tamales in the freezer section of a well-stocked grocery store with a Latino clientele. If you can't, the reviews on this say that you can substitute empanadas or even taquitos.

Corn and Green Chile Tamale Casserole

6 4-ounce frozen chicken or beef tamales
1 10-ounce package frozen white or yellow corn (unthawed)
1 4-ounce can diced mild green chilies
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup whipping cream
1 7-ounce can salsa verde
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
Avocado wedges
Additional salsa verde (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place frozen tamales in microwave and cook on high until thawed, about 5 minutes. Remove husks. Cut tamales in half lengthwise. Place in single layer in 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Sprinkle with frozen corn, chilies, green onions and 1/2 cup cilantro. Whisk cream, salsa verde, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend. Drizzle over casserole. Sprinkle grated cheese over top.

Bake casserole until heated through and bubbling, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Serve with avocado and more salsa, if desired.


Kimberly said...

Mmmmm. That does sound good. Actually, the hot dogs sound good too. You know what though? I seriously do not know how to deal with an avocado. I buy them, and I don't know how to get them started.

Melony Carey and Chrissie Wagner said...

I am a food writer and blogger for a newspaper. I lost my tamale casserole recipe and just happened across yours - it's different and I like the green chile! You have a very interesting blog and I admire your discipline to write everyday!

Kimberly, cut the avocados in half lengthwise, pull apart, remove the seed (put three toothpicks in it and set it in a glass of water with the narrow end of the seed submerged into the water. It will grow roots, and voila, an avocado tree, if you want one!). Take a tablespoon and run it around each avocado half - the pulp will pop out easily. Add garlic powder, chopped green chili, lime juice, and maybe a pinch of salt and you've got guacamole.

Thanks for allowing my unsollicaited opinion! Good luck with your food and philosophy!