Back when I was in High School, there was this restaurant in Minneapolis called El Mason. They featured food from the Dominican Republic and it was awesome. Sure my best friend wanted to go there because she was in LUUUUVE with one of the waiters. Who cares that he was probably twice her age.
Anyhow, the food there was amazing. They had the best tamales and tostones ever. I don't even remember what made them so awesome. I do know that every other tamale I've had since then has been dry and gross.
This tamale casserole from Buns in My Oven was neither dry nor gross. Nor was it anything like the tamales I had as a teenager. But it was sooo good none the less.
I told her that was too bad because we had another meal of leftovers and she could eat it or go hungry. After much convincing I told her it would be a whole lot less spicy if she had just a tiny eensy weensy bit of sour cream. GUESS WHAT? I was right. Now she LOVES the tamale casserole and asked me to make it again.
Tamale Casserole from Buns in my Oven
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (Jiffy works great)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 pound ground meat (I used beef, but chicken or turkey would be great too)
Preheat oven to 400F. Spray 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Combine cheeses in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, stir 1/4 c combined cheese, milk, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn, muffin mix, and the green chiles. Stir until just combined. Pour into pan and bake 15 min or until just set.
While cornbread baking, cook meat over med heat until cooked completely through. Drain, if necessary.
Remove cornbread from oven and pierce all over with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce over corn bread.
Top with meat and remaining cheese. Return to oven for another 15 min.
P.S. Sadly El Mason has changed ownership since my days of frequent patronage, and their menu. Aside from being way more expensive, it seems tamales are no longer one of their offerings. Harrumph!