Chicken Tamale Casserole

One of my oldest son's favorite things to order when we are on the Northwestern, Pacific side of Mexico would be hand made tamales* that you can pick up as you walk through the market. Seasoned meat and cheese wrapped in that soft Masa cornmeal dough and steamed inside the familiar corn husks. Well making those can be a pretty time consuming operation. Not something I am going to be starting after a day at work. This, on the other hand, is very simple to assemble and I will be making use of some "cheater" convenience items to speed things along. This is an "after your work day" meal, not a "work all day at it" meal. For a history lesson on tamales, see *Food Nerd Notes at the bottom of this post.

Cornbread, on the other hand, is fast and easy. So…. what about a cornbread "crust" seasoned up with cheese, corn, cumin, and chilies, and the shredded meat on top? And what if we added some great color and texture with black beans and corn… and melted cheese… and chips… and avocados and tomatoes.. with cilantro and lime and sour cream…. oh my!! I do get excited thinking about all those flavors put together in a simple to assemble casserole.