Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hot (green chili chicken) Tamales!

It's that time of the year where I decide to turn into a little Mexican woman and spend a wintery afternoon throwing a Tamalada fiesta for myself. I spend hours humming christmas tunes while making 100 tamales for absolutely no good reason other than my own sick need to gorge myself in Mexican food at even the slightest opportunity.

In case you are wondering.... a Tamalada Fiesta is a tamale party that Mexican families traditionally throw around Christmas time. The whole family comes together and spends hours.... sometimes even days in the kitchen preparing hundreds of tamales to feast on.

Well, once a year around Christmas time I party on down to tamale town, too.... the cool "watch me make 100 tamales in 6 hours with only my own two hands, bitch!" kind of way.

Ah, tamales. Just leave me alone with some sour cream and I will seriously be happy until New Years.

Green Chili Chicken Tamales (ay ay!)


About 25 dried corn husks
1 pound tomatillios, husked & rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
4 serrano peppers, stemmed & chopped
5 large garlic cloves
olive oil
4-5 cups shredded chicken (I just buy 2 rotisserie chickens from the market to save time)
1 cup fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Masa (dough)-
1 1/3 cups lard or solid vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 cups freshly ground masa dough for tamales
2 cups chicken broth

You will need something to tie the tamales together.... I use kitchen twine because I think it looks cute.

This makes about 25 tamales..... I would AT LEAST double the recipe. This is a once a year kinda thing.

*** I have made the dough from scratch before and it was great.... but you know how I feel about making dough... I'd much rather take the shortcut. If you have a Vallarta (Mexican market) in town..... they have homemade, ready to go masa dough! It is fresh and delicious and will save you lots of time!

Soak corn husks in water for about 2 hours to make them soft.

For the filling: 
Place husks in large pot or large bowl; add water to cover. Place heavy plate on husks to keep submerged. Let stand until husks soften, turning occasionally, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat broiler. Line heavy baking sheet with foil. Arrange tomatillos on prepared sheet. Broil until tomatillos blacken in spots, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer tomatillos and any juices on sheet to processor and cool. Add chiles and garlic to processor and blend until smooth puree forms. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add tomatillo puree and boil 5 minutes, stirring often. Add broth. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until sauce coats spoon thickly and is reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Season with salt. Mix in chicken and cilantro. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For the dough-
Using electric mixer, beat lard (with salt and baking powder, if using) in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in fresh masa or masa harina mixture in 4 additions. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups broth, forming tender dough. If dough seems firm, beat in enough broth, 2 tablespoons at a time, to soften.
Fill bottom of pot with steamer insert with enough water (about 2 inches) to reach bottom of insert. Line bottom of insert with some softened corn husks.

Set up a work station:

Open 2 large husks on work surface. Spread 1/4 cup dough in 4-inch square in center of each, leaving 2- to 3-inch plain border at narrow end of husk. Spoon heaping tablespoon filling in strip down center of each dough square. Fold long sides of husk and dough over filling to cover. Fold up narrow end of husk. Tie folded portion to secure, leaving wide end of tamale open. 






this is a very steamy picture....

Bring water in pot to boil. Cover pot and steam tamales until dough is firm to touch and separates easily from husk, adding more water to pot as necessary, about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool 1 hour. Cover and chill. Before serving, re-steam tamales until hot, about 35 minutes.)

*recipe adapted from

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