Give Chicken Pot Pie A Tex-Mex Twist With Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Everybody loves a bona fide comfort meal, and chicken pot pie is at the top of the classic dinner list. Hearty, simple, and flavorful, it's easy to see why it's a go-to. But even so, those flavors can get a bit too familiar over time. Instead of reaching for the store-bought pie crust and basic roast chicken ingredients, why not opt for a cornbread-topped Tex-Mex spin on this beloved dinner? Mashed recipe developer Patterson Watkins has a Southwest-inspired chicken pot pie that she describes as containing all things Tex-Mex, "except the tortillas," which are replaced with a spicy, cheesy cornbread topping.

The filling of this Tex-Mex chicken pot pie recipe is comprised of peppers, onions, black beans, and — of course — chicken. It's really that cakey cornbread crust, though, that ties it all together. Watkins forms a loose batter of basic yellow cornbread but takes it up a notch by adding shredded cheddar cheese, fresh chopped scallions, and sliced jalapeños. This hearty bread mixture adds sweetness and balance to the spicy filling and makes each slice a full meal in itself. Instead of a standard pie crust, which usually requires pre-baking before you can transfer the filling into the pie dish, this cornbread batter can be spread over the top of a cast iron skillet and placed directly into the oven, making this not just a delicious meal, but an easy one-pot dinner.

How to enjoy this pot pie

Watkins explains that if you're pressed for time, you can always add sliced jalapeños, cheddar, and scallions to a box of cornbread mix and still wind up with a delicious, semi-homemade dinner. Of course, you can also forego the jalapeños to temper the spice; in this case, consider using a milder pepper blend to maintain the texture and flavor balance.

This dish contains a great balance of nutrients and ingredients — tons of veggies and fiber, a filling and flavorful bread, and lean protein in the chicken. But if you want to add a few side dishes, Watkins has some suggestions. For more Southwest pairings, you can't go wrong with a fresh avocado salsa to top off this rich pie, or even a guacamole and tortilla chip starter. She also says she "wouldn't scoff at a vinaigrette-dressed side salad to balance the rich elements of the pot pie." In the mood for something sweet? Watkins recommends a little tres leches dessert and an espresso to keep you perky after a large meal.

So when, exactly, should this pot pie recipe enter your dinner rotation? Watkins says, "Once the temperatures start dropping into the chilly digits, that's when I start dipping into the heartier, soul-warming, recipes," just like this wholesome, warming twist on a classic pot pie.