Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie

I saw this recipe a week or so ago, and knowing we had a little leftover turkey still in the refrigerator I heard it calling to me. It seemed like such a unique and flavorful way to use up the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers! Plus I'd been craving Mexican - I haven't had tacos in too long. Come to think of it, I still haven't. Need to remedy soon!

If you have some leftover turkey or chicken definitely give this one a try - or heck, bake up a couple chicken breasts and use them just for this recipe! It's warm, full of spice, and just the thing for a cool fall afternoon or evening. The leftovers (if you have any) reheat well, too!

I've been looking for more of these warm and cozy casserole type dishes with the fall weather - and this one did not disappoint. If you're not a big fan of a lot of spices, start with about half the called for amounts below, then add more to the filling mixture as desired until it reaches the right amount of "flavorful" for you!

Cheesy Turkey Tamale Pie (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)


1 15-oz can chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup instant polenta
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-4 TBS butter (if desired)

Turkey Mixture:
4 cups leftover turkey shredded
1 19-oz can red enchilada sauce
2 TBS chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour the broth and milk into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. As the liquid begins to bubble, pour in the polenta and stir frequently. As the mixture begins to thicken, add in the salt and pepper and reduce heat. When cooked through per package directions (about 3-5 minutes for instant), turn off heat and stir in half a cup of the shredded cheddar; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine all of the turkey filling ingredients and stir to blend (taste - adjust seasonings if desired). 
  4. Prep a 9x13 baking dish by spraying with non-stick spray, and pour in the polenta, smoothing for an even surface. Pour the turkey mixture over the top of the polenta, and sprinkle on the remaining cheddar cheese. 
  5. Place in the preheated oven and bake 25-35 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and heated through.
  6. Serve with diced tomato, avocado, sour cream, etc. if desired. 


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