I hope I’m not alone in being completely taken by surprise at how quickly Thanksgiving arrived this year! Just over a week ago, the boyfriend and I were in Puerto Rico, and since it was my first real vacation in over five years (and certainly the first since starting grad school), I’d forgotten/not realized how many things there are to take care of both before and after a trip…and now all of a sudden, Thanksgiving is upon us! As well as at least half a foot of snow. We’re definitely not in Puerto Rico anymore…
I’m not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, which leaves me free to think about other things…like this chicken and sweet potato tamale pie. In a way, though, I’m still thinking about Thanksgiving, because this tamale pie would be the *perfect* way to use up a bunch of leftover turkey and sweet potatoes, if you need a change of pace from turkey sandwiches and such.
Shredded chicken (or turkey, as the case may be) and roasted sweet potatoes make up the filling of this tamale pie, along with red peppers, black beans, tomatoes, and corn, and on top of all this southwestern goodness sits a layer of creamy, cheesy polenta.
Far easier to make than actual tamales (although I’ve got a great recipe if you are so inclined!), this chicken and sweet potato tamale pie has quickly become one of our favorites: it’s comforting, hearty, and will serve you well in the chilly months to come!
Happy Thanksgiving! Be sure to wear your stretchy pants 😉
In case you’re still deciding on a menu for Turkey Day, here are a few of my suggestions:
- 2 sweet potatoes (medium or large), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup corn
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 2 cups red enchilada sauce
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- extra cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cubed sweet potatoes and red pepper strips with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 20 minutes (they should be easily pierced with a fork at this point). After you remove the vegetables from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted sweet potatoes and red pepper, cooked chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, and enchilada sauce. Spread the mixture into an ungreased 9×13 baking pan.
- Make the polenta: in a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Once it boils, slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Stir in the cheeses, butter, and salt (you may want to remove the pan from the heat first, if the cornmeal is sputtering). Spoon the polenta on top of the filling and use a spatula to smooth the surface.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Either storebought or homemade enchilada sauce is fine. I make it from scratch, using a recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
- If it is important to you to keep this recipe gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free enchilada sauce; the rest of the ingredients do not contain gluten.
- Feel free to substitute any type of diced or shredded meat in place of chicken. Leftover turkey from Thanksgiving would be a great choice!