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Tamal de Cazuela (Tamal Casserole)

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Tamal de Cazuela (Tamal Casserole)

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Tamal de Cazuela

This is a very easy Mexican casserole to bring to any potluck or family gathering this Fall. You can buy roast chicken from the supermarket as a short-cut, though we recommend making it from scratch.

2 cups Maseca flour
1 cup corn meal (you can find it at many local farmers markets)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Dash of paprika
½ cup olive oil
½ cup hot chicken broth

2 chicken breasts
Chicken broth or water
1 poblano pepper
1 ½ cups butternut squash, diced

Tomatillo Sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the chicken breasts in a medium pot covered with water. You can add aromatics such as some diced carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and black pepper corns. This will create a nice broth for the recipe. Alternatively, you can cover them just with water and use store bought chicken broth where it is called for later. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook the chicken through, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from the liquid. Strain liquid and bring to a simmer. Keep warm.
Shred the chicken breasts with your fingers or using forks.
Shortcut: Buy roast chicken, and shred the meat from the breast. Use the rest of the chicken for another meal.
Roast the squash with some olive oil and salt for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Roast the poblano pepper in the oven or over an open gas flame until charred on all sides. Remove from heat, place in a bowl covered with a cloth or towel and sweat. When cool enough to handle, peel the pepper and discard the seeds.

Make the dough: sift together the dry ingredients. Pour in the olive oil and rub it into the flour. Next, pour in the hot broth and knead until smooth.

Grease a 9x9 square baking tray. Place a thin layer of dough into the bottom, evening it out with your hands. Combine the chicken, pepper, and squash, and arrange on top of the dough. Pour over the Tomatillo Salsa (recipe follows). Create the top layer of the casserole with the remaining dough.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with the Tomatillo Salsa.

Tomatillo Salsa:
2 lbs tomatillos
1 clove garlic
½ a medium yellow or white onion
½ cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Soak the tomatillos in warm water to loosen their husks. Remove the husks and roughly chop. Blend together the tomatillos, garlic, onion, cilantro, vinegar, and olive oil into a nice, loose salsa. Season to taste with salt.

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