Chicken Tamales


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Yield: 25 Servings


1 lb husked, rinsed tomatillos
2 cups chicken broth
⅔ cup fresh cilantro
1 lb shredded cooked chicken
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
4 chopped garlic cloves
4 stemmed, chopped Serrano chilies
8 oz dried cornhusks

For the Dough:
4 cups masa dough for tamales (or make your own by combining 3 ½ cups masa harina with 2 ¼ cups warm water)
1 ½ teaspoons salt (only if the masa dough does not already contain salt)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (only if the masa dough does not already contain baking powder)
1 ⅓ cups lard or vegetable shortening
2 cups chicken broth


Put the husks in a big bowl and cover them with water.

Put a heavy plate on top to keep them under the water level and let them stand for between 3 and 24 hours.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the tomatillos on it.

Preheat the broiler and broil the tomatillos until they are black in places. This will take about 5 minutes per side.

Let them cool, and then add them to a food processor with the garlic and chilies and process until you have a puree.

Heat the oil and boil the tomatillo puree for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the broth. Turn the heat down and simmer the sauce until it reduces to 1 cup and thickens up.

Stir it occasionally and cook it for about 40 minutes.

Season with salt and stir in the cilantro and chicken.

Beat the lard until it is fluffy, and then beat in the masa in several additions.

Turn the mixer speed to low and beat in the broth in several additions, to make a dough.

Beat in extra broth, a little at a time, if the dough is too firm; it needs to be the texture of cookie dough.

Add 2 inches of water to a steamer pot and line the steamer pot insert with cornhusks.

Tear 3 husks into ¼ inch wide strips to use for ties.

Open 2 husks and spread ¼ cup dough in the center of each one, topped with a tablespoon of filling.

Fold the long sides of the husk over the dough to cover the filling.

Fold up the narrow ends and use a husk tie to secure the tamale.

Stand the tamales in the steamer basket and repeat with the rest of the husks, dough and filling.

Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and steam the tamales until the dough is firm. Add more water if necessary, as the tamales cook.

Let them stand for 10 minutes before eating.

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