Chicken Tamale Pies

When COVID-19 was starting to hit our area, we went to the store and stocked up on dried products. We generally prefer them to canned because while they are a little less convenient to work with, they are much cheaper and take up a lot less space. In our purchasing binge, we skewed our acquisitions towards legumes…but we also found a bag of White Hominy sitting there staring at us, and we couldn’t leave it behind (despite not really knowing what the heck to do with it). After using it to make two slow cooker meals (Zero Effort Vegan Chili and Sweet Pork and Beans Cabbage “Tacos”), we felt it was time to try something totally different and really feature the ingredient.

Since Hominy is oft mashed up as a critical ingredient for tamales, we decided to try turning it into a sort of savory pie crust…a base for deliciousness if you will. Since the idea was inspired by tamales, we quickly decided to embrace Mexican flavours, and we whipped up a spicy chicken filling and topped everything off with a fresh tomato from my grandpa-in-law’s garden and cotija cheese.

Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients (makes 2 pies in 5″ cast iron skillets):

  • 2 Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Bell Pepper (colour of your choice)
  • Salsa
  • 1/2 Cup White Hominy Corn
  • 2 Cups of Water

Method:

  • Put your white hominy and water in a sauce pan together, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover loosely with a lid. Let this simmer for about an hour until your hominy softens.
  • As your hominy cooks, rinse your pepper, slice it, and place it into the bowl of your food processor. Then, cut your chicken thighs into chunks, and put them in the food processor as well. Lastly, add your salsa, and pulse to combine and form a (for lack of a more appetizing phrase) chunky paste.
  • Pour your chicken/peppers/salsa into a pan, and cook until the liquids fully evaporate. Set aside in a bowl once everything is cooked.
  • Finish your pie filling prep by slicing a tomato and prepping any cheese you’re going to use.
  • When your hominy finishes (liquid should be mostly absorbed, and the corn should be soft), puree it in a food processor.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat some olive oil or butter in your 5″ cast iron skillets (or a larger skillet, but you’ll have to play with ingredient amounts to make it work). When it’s hot, scoop your hominy paste into the pan, and use a wet spatula (to prevent sticking) to smooth it out and make a pie crust shape.
  • Scoop your chicken filling in, and let everything cook for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Use a spatula to make sure that the hominy crust easily comes away from the sides of your pan.
  • Top your pie(s) with the tomato slice and cheese, and put everything in the oven. Let cook for 10-12 minutes to melt and brown the cheese a little.
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!

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