Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Leftover Turkey Tamale Pie – Sorry, Pumpkin, There’s a New Thanksgiving Pie in Town

Even if your turkey is perfectly cooked, the reheated leftovers can be a little dry and uninteresting, especially since the gravy always runs out before all the meat is gone. 

That’s why soup is such a popular choice for using up the last remnants of your bird, but this tamale pie will serve the same purpose, only in a significantly more exciting, and flavorful way.

There are two basic types of tamale pie. One features a cornbread topping, which is like eating chili with cornbread, and the other a traditional masa dough, which is like eating chili with polenta on it. Here, I wanted to create something that gives us the best of both, and I was very happy with how this came out.

While I’m branding this as a post-Thanksgiving leftover turkey recipe, it’s really a “how to make tamale pie” video, since you can sub in virtually any other meat and/or vegetable, and it should work just as well. In fact, I’m actually thinking of doing a version using cubed butternut squash as a turkey-adjacent side dish. Regardless of what you use, I really do hope you give this easy and delicious tamale pie a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 Portions Turkey Tamale Pie:
(I used a 9" X 12" baking dish)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1 red bell, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (7-oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 to 4 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 packed cup)
1 jar (15.5-oz) red enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup self-rising flour*
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese for the top

- Bake at 375 F. for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

* If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can use 3/4 cup all-purpose flour sifted with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon fine table salt.


Brenda said...

John missed your recipes last week.

Brenda said...

Hi John me again. I amEnglish and recently made cornbread🎐for the first time. I didn't like it though, it was sweet like cake. Could it be made more savoury leaving out the sugar and adding cheese? Your turkey recipe above looks delish though.

Sofie230 said...

I was getting worried about you since it had been a while since your last post. I was having Chef John withdrawal symptoms.

Sullivanspapa said...

Hello Chef John,
I made your Jefferson Mac ands cheese, for the third time in as many months!
Is it 3 cups of cheese by volume or weight?
just quibbling, my family loves your recipes, etc.

Anonymous said...

You had me at tamale!

Dragonphire said...

Could you do this with Masa instead?

Dragonphire said...

Can you use Masa instead?

bkeene12 said...

CJ- Which enchilada sauce do you prefer?

Greg said...

Good Evening,

I used leftover smoked turkey and this recipe is a INSTANT hit. Everyone GOBBLED it up at our potluck pie party.

Greg M
Athens, OH

arbpen said...

Thank you for posting this. As much as I like Turkey Tet, I just want something different. Got enchilada sauce this afternoon, can't wait to make it Saturday. We're having shrimp and pesto pasta tonight, so it will be perfect.

By the way, Chef, can you not upgrade to a better version of Blogger that is responsive to mobile devices? I'm sure your stats show that. Feel free to contact me if you need assistance.

Unknown said...

Just made this and it is SOOOOOOO yummy! My teenaged boys are very happy. Thanks, Chef John! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Viola Leary said...

I don’t know if you read your comments but I just wanted to say that my husband and I love your videos and your recipes. With two good cooks in the house we tend to eat well and are considered by our friends to be food snobs, in a good way though. Enough that they are afraid to cook for us. I don’t know why so many people these days never leaned how to cook. They always love our food but we always find things about it that we like to change. That just isn’t so with your recipes. They are as close to perfect as we can get, no adjustments needed. Thanks and keep in doing what you do.
The Leary Family of Iowa.

arbpen said...

I made this tonight. I happened to have good turkey, but I can really eat it for only a day or two before I feel like I'm going to start gobbling. This was just delicious, and my son actually had four helpings! I did things a bit differently. I did not want to use a whole can of chipotles since I put those also in meatloaf, so I put two chipotles and a tablespoon of chipotle powder. I put a bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan, then a little turkey, sauce, cheese, and batter, then more sauce, turkey, cheese, batter, and cheese, like a lasagne. It was nice and spicy. Of course, I'm a glutton for punishment, so I had to put a little El Yucateco Kutbil-Ik sauce on it and required an accompanying glass of milk. Just wonderful, Chef John.

Dave .... said...

Random question. I was actually thinking of a pot pie from turkey leftovers. I've make both you tourtiere crust (2017) and your hand pie butter crust (2013) and loved them both for their intended recipes. Since a pot pie is wetter than the tourtiere, should I use the butter crust for that? I'm not a practiced baker and don't have much intuition about how either would turn out in this application. Which do you recommend? Or something else? Like tamale pie. :)
Thanks, Dave ....

Redcaddy said...

I like spicy, but the chipotles were a little much for me. Next time, will go with the tried and true cayenne! Otherwise, very good and the turkey was very moist just as advertised!

Sudeep gupta said...

wow!! thanks for this wonderful post-thanksgiving leftover turkey recipe!!
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Babe3Ruth said...

I'm really sorry to ask but what can be substituted for the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Unfortunately my better half can't take the heat.

Jax said...

Made this last week using a low carb cornbread topper and it is incredible. I almost want to say it’s so extremely spicy but... it’s just really good. But definitely didn’t give it to my kids. I’d definitely make another bird just to do this again. Thanks for the idea!

WendolaPM said...

This was delicious. I made it last night using chicken instead of turkey. The only thing I would change next time is I will use half of the chicken broth because I thought it could have been less watery at the end. Absolutely yummy and feeds at least 8.

Christopher Harley said...

I can’t believe there’re no comments on this recipe. I’ve made it twice but on each occasion I used chicken. On the first go, it was too spicy for the wife and daughter so I ended up having to eat the entire pie. I didn’t leave it over for very long. On the second go, I substituted mild tomatillo sauce for the spicier chipotle and toned things down a bit. With a nod to Chef John’s penchant for cayenne, I added a bit since this dish needs some warmth to round out the feel. I’ve decided that this is definitely one of those recipes I’ll keep ready when I know a crowd needs a hearty bowl. Thanks, John!

Jamie said...

We cooked a second turkey because we got a small bird for Thanksgiving and finally had leftovers to try out this tamale pie! We just put it in the oven. We're slightly concerned because the batter just sank right into the mixture instead of sitting on top! Hopefully it'll turn alright! Any suggestions to prevent the sinkage! Thank you for sharing as always 😊