Shameless Chef

The Shameless Chef: Canned Tamale Casserole

To make up for the complicated nature of the last two weeks' entries (which included knowing both proper batter consistency and noodle pliancy) I'm going to make this week's dish ludicrously simple. If you think you'll have problems with this week's recipe then you shouldn't be making it anyway, because you'd probably cut your tongue on the can lids or accidentally crawl inside the oven.


You will need:

  • 1 can of tamales
  • 1 can of chili (I show both turkey and beef chili in the above photo to illustrate that you can use a healthier chili if you wish, but trust me, that turkey chili is coming nowhere near my own personal casserole)
  • shredded cheese (or at the very least, slices of cheese which you have torn up)
  • maybe some other stuff, if you want. Some people like onions on it, some people like a little salsa. Whatever.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Once you've opened the cans with your trusty can opener (oh yeah, you'll need a can opener, too), drain the tamales and set them inside the casserole dish in police line-up style, shoulder-to-shoulder but not overlapping too much.

Next, pour the chili over the tamales, spreading it over them relatively evenly. Now stick it in the oven for about 10 minutes. While it's cooking, call someone you haven't talked to in a long time and let them know you're thinking about them. This obviously isn't necessary for the recipe, but it's a nice thing to do.

Once 10 minutes has gone by, take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle your cheese and other toppings of choice over it, and put it right back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Couldn't be easier. What's that you say? "Microwave"? Hey, here's an idea: shut your ass face, assface. The oven helps evaporate some of the juices; even after draining the tamales, this is clearly a dish capable of getting very soggy indeed.

Once the cheese is melted, take it out, let it cool off a bit, and enjoy. You may be skeptical now, but once you take that first bite, you'll say to yourself, "I should stop doubting the Shameless Chef". Unless you are the Shameless Chef, in which case you'll say to yourself "What the- aw, dammit. I forgot to take the paper off. Shit!"

Well, it's hard to see in all that tamale brine. Shut up.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Seaborn Gray