The day after Thanksgiving I tend to bag up some of my left-over turkey and freeze it.
I love knowing that I have, in my freezer, the means to make any number of easy weeknight meals. From pot pies to tetrazzini, frozen turkey meat is a good thing to have on hand. This year I decided to try out a new idea that blends creamy pot pie filling with a Tex-Mex flair. I served this up to my casserole hating husband who went back for seconds … and thirds. I must be on to something.
Between the cooking overload of Thanksgiving and the culinary marathon that is Christmas I like to have easy recipes on hand to save me from fast food. This takes no more than fifteen minutes to get into the oven, and with meat, veggies and bread it makes a hearty meal all on its own. The cornbread topping is my favorite part of this dish. It is fluffy, flavorful, and perfect covered with the cheesy filling. Of course, you can use chicken rather than turkey and feel free to play with the cheeses, veggies, and spices. This is a dish begging to be customized!
Cornbread Topped Turkey and Green Chile Casserole Serves 6
For the filling:
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 – 4 ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 cup RoTel Tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup flour
1 cup chicken or turkey broth
1 cup milk, 2% or higher
2 cups cooked shredded turkey or chicken
10 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided
For the cornbread topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9″ x 9″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium pan over medium heat melt the butter until it foams. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, green chilies, and Rotel and cook until fragrant, about three minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, add the flour and cook until no dry flour remains and the flour becomes lightly golden, about five minutes. Add the turkey stock and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.
Once the mixture simmers add the milk and stir to combine. Stir in the turkey meat and cook until thoroughly heated. Remove from the heat and stir in 8 ounces of the shredded cheese. Set aside.
Next prepare the cornbread topping. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar, and salt until well combined. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour into it the beaten egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Stir the mixture until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over-mix.
To assemble pour the turkey mixture into the prepared dish and spread evenly. Carefully pour the cornbread mixture over the top and spread evenly to the edges. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool for ten minutes before serving.