Chicken Tamales

Prep: 2 ½ hours+soaking

20 dried corn husks
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-4 lbs) cut up
3 quarts water
1 medium onion, quartered
2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, crushed

1 c. shortening
3 c. masa harina

6 tbsp canola oil
6 tbsp all purpose flour
¾ c. chili powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp pepper
2 cans (2-¼ ounces each) sliced ripe olives, sliced

Place corn husks in a large bowl; cover with cold water and soak for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the chicken, water, onion, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove chicken from broth set aside until cool enough to handle. Strain broth; skim fat. Finely chop or shred chicken.

For dough, in a large bowl, beat the shortening until light & fluffy. Add small amounts of masa harina alternately with 2 cups reserved broth, beating well ‘til blended.

Drop a small amount of dough into a cup of cold water; dough should float to the top. If not, continue beating until it is light enough to float.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; stir in flour until blended. Cook and stir for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in the spices, chicken, and 4 cups reserved broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until filling is thickened, stirring occasionally.

 Drain corn husks and pat dry. Place a corn husk on a work surface with the small end pointing away from you. Place 3 tbsp of dough over half of husk closest to you, patting dough to within 1 inch of edges. Top with 2 tbsp chicken mixture and 2 tsp of olives. Lifting one long side, fold husk over filling so edges meet, enclosing filling in husk. Fold ends of husk over tamale; tie with string. Repeat.

 In a large steamer basket, position tamales upright with folded bottoms down. Place basket in Dutch oven over 1 inch of water. Bring to boil; cover and steam for 45-50 minutes, or until dough peels away from husk, adding hot water to pan as needed. Remove husks before eating.

Joanna Schaper


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