Turkey Tamale Casserole — budget meals , casserole , cold weather , mexican , quick dinners , sweet corn , tamale , turkey — For Two, Please

November 03, 2009

Turkey Tamale Casserole

Casserole time! When life gets a bit crazy, I say...make a casserole :)

As mentioned before, I loooove me a good casserole -- especially the cheesy, gooey, saucy ones. When busy, casseroles become even more appealing because of all the generous leftovers they make. Seriously, nothing like a warm and comforting casserole to sustain you through the entire (and I mean entire!) work week.

Not only is this one quick and easy, but it was actually one of my favorite dishes growing up! It's reminiscent of a tamale (hence the name)...only a bit messier and less sophisticated with all the cheese, extra fillings, and sauces in it. I think the secret is the creamed corn which, along with the corn tortillas, gives the dish a slightly sweet, corn tamalito/tamale taste. That and the spicy chili, turkey chunks, diced jalapenos, olives and cheddar cheese just make it absolutely divine.

Of course, my taste buds have *ahem* matured since my younger years, and I like my food a bit more refined these days. But there's nothing like reliving the good ole' days...especially when it's this good ;)

Turkey Tamale Casserole
Recipe by SC's mother

1 lb ground raw turkey (do NOT use lean turkey breast - dark 80/20 meat is best)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 17-oz can cream-style corn
1 10.5-oz can chili without beans (hot instead of mild)
2 t dried oregano, crushed
1/2 t ground cumin
12 corn tortillas
1 C water
1 2.25-oz can sliced black olives, drained
1 4-oz can diced green chilies
2.5 C shredded cheddar cheese (6 oz)

In a large skillet, cook turkey and garlic over medium heat till turkey is no longer pink. Stir in corn, chili, oregano and cumin. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Stack tortillas; cut into 6 wedges. Place wedges in a medium mixing bowl; add water. Let stand for 1 minute. Drain, reserving 1/4 C liquid. Stir the reserved liquid and olives into the turkey mixture. In a 2-quart rectangular baking dish, layer slightly less than 2 C of the turkey mixture and half of the tortillas; repeat layers. Top with remaining turkey mixture, spreading to cover tortillas.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or till heated through. Top with cheese, bake for another 3-5 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Can garnish with sour cream and chopped green onions.


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