Tamales are really fun to make but somewhat labor intensive, so most people tend to make them in large batches. Which means you inevitably end up with leftovers. You can freeze any extras, of course, but this casserole is another delicious option for using up leftover tamales (especially ones that have been reheated more than once and are a bit dry).
Roast your own poblano peppers (it's easy to do) and add them to this casserole for extra flavor.
Just a tip: When making tamales, we often end up softening more dried corn husks than we actually need. We have to go to a special grocery store to buy the corn husks, so we like to save the ones we haven't used. Spread any leftover wet corn husks on a cookie sheet and heat them in the oven at 200 F for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the corn husk in the oven until they are completely dry and cool. Store them in a plastic bag until ready to use again.
- 16 medium tamales
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 roasted poblano peppers
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack, or a mix)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup salsa (green or red)
- Remove the tamales from their husks and cut them into bite-size pieces.
- Place the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Coarsely chop the onion. Remove the charred skin and seeds from the roasted poblanos and dice them.
- Saute the onions in the olive oil over medium-low heat until onion is soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and peppers and cook for several minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in the cream cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, salsa, and chicken stock.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Place 1/3 of the chopped tamales over the bottom. Cover with 1/2 of the onion-pepper mixture. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the grated cheese over the onions.
- Layer another third of the tamal pieces over the cheese, and top with the remaining onions and peppers. Top with 3/4 cup of cheese.
- Finally, place the remaining chopped tamales on top of the casserole. Pour the sour cream mixture over the entire casserole. Top with the last 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Loosely cover casserole with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more, or until casserole is bubbly and hot, and cheese is melted.