Some of the greatest ideas in life are the simplest ones, take for example the Tamale Casserole. Being the son of a Tamalera, I know tamales and when I laid my eyes on that concoction in the aluminum pan, I questioned it and it’s taste. Low and behold I was surprised by it great taste and ingenuity. Curious about the casserole, I asked the chef about it and she told me that it was a recipe her grandmother created back in the day. Chimatli dates it back to the ’50s, but this is the first time I laid eyes on something so clever and tasty.
This particular casserole was of rajas and it had monterey jack and goat cheese making for a unique combination to say the least. The japalenos gave it a nice kick too and some extra flavor. Again letting my curiosity got the best of me and I asked how she prepared the casserole. In a nutshell, you take masa and put it on the bottom of the pan, add your toppings of choice and lay another layer of masa on top of that. Pop it in the oven for about 90 minutes and bingo bango, a tamale casserole. Over the holidays I’ve been exposed to a variety of tamale variations including vegetarian tamales. For years I thought that rajas, chicken red/green sauce, pork red/green sauce and pineapple and strawberry were the only ones available. My pallet is forever changed and I’m grateful to have been exposed to such culinary delights.