chipotle tamale is one of my go-to recipes. before i go off telling you why i like it so much though, let’s talk about pronunciation. i’m sure many of you *think* you know how to pronounce “chipotle tamale” but you are likely mistaken. you see, my husband and i are nerds who find it endlessly entertaining to make up all sorts of words to replace perfectly good other words (why “cut” vegetables when you can “smallerize” them?).
when changing the words entirely would lead to confusion, such as when referring to the name of a recipe, then we settle for blatantly and purposefully mispronouncing the original name. “chee-poat-lay ta-ma-le” becomes “chi-poat-el tam-uh-lay”. just because it amuses us. we know it’s wrong. and *most* of the time when we talk to other people, we remember in time to pronounce it correctly. most of the time…
ok, so now that we all know how this particular dish is pronounced, NOW let’s talk about how great it is. ready, set, go!
- it’s cozy, hearty winter food without being a giant vat of heavy cream (nary a drop, in fact!).
- it’s reasonably easy to make (and the recipe is very forgiving if you basically completely mess up the steps for making the cornbread topping. or, you know, so i’ve heard…)
- it makes fantastic leftovers.
the latter attribute is one of the main reasons why this is my standard “congratulations on your new house/baby/latest overwhelming time sink” dish. the delicious leftovers, the fact that the spice level can be adjusted, and the flexibility to sub in ground beef or more beans combine to make this a crowd-pleaser, whomever the crowd may be (well, not the newborn, but everyone crowded around the new arrival). (and i swear, it’s good even when you’re not sleep-deprived and wondering how many days it will be until your next chance to shower!)
my husband and i like chipotle tamale as written below because it turns out moderately spicy and very flavorful, without being overwhelming. should you wish to make modifications (adding corn or more spices, leaving out an ingredient that you don’t like, etc.) i suspect that would be delicious too. the only thing i really caution against (yes, i’ve learned from experience) is putting the corn bread topping on the filling when the filling is cold. this leads to an undesirable layer of not-cooked-yet-cornbread underbelly. because nobody likes raw cornbread underbelly, i’ve included make ahead instructions below to help you avoid this. and now, without further ado…