Monday, April 28, 2014

Worth the Effort

I absolutely adore Tamales.  I usually make them with chicken, but they can be done with pork, beef, or even bean. This is a very time-consuming task, and it helps to have another person rolling them with you.  I am so excited to share this recipe that I'm not even going to babble on with a story!  I can find corn husks in any local store in Texas, even Walmart.  But, if you can't find them, you can find them at  I also use El Pato, which is a spicy tomato sauce, for the sauce.  If you can't find that, you can use regular tomato sauce and some cayenne pepper, to taste. You will also need a very large pot to steam them in.  I have a ginormous crockpot that I can remove the insert and place it over two burners on my stovetop to steam them.  Every time I mention to people that I'm planning on making tamales, I get offers from people that want to buy a dozen.  It makes a lot and get ready to share!

5-6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Chicken stock
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Corn husks (50-70 depending on how big the chicken is)

32 ounces El Pato
1 onion, chopped
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 C chicken stock
Olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

6 C masa harina (corn flour)
5 C chicken stock
2 C lard (or Crisco)
3 T onion powder
3 T garlic powder
3 T cumin

Boil the chicken in enough chicken stock to cover with the chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin until done.  Let cool until you can handle it.  Shred the meat.

Soak the corn husks in the sink covered in water for about 15-20 minutes.

Mix the dough ingredients together by hand or in a mixer.  It shouldn't be too sticky.  Set it aside.

Drizzle some olive oil in a large skillet.  Cook the onion over medium high heat until tender.  Add in the chicken, cumin, chili powder, garlic, chicken stock, salt & pepper, and El Pato. Cook and simmer until the sauce is thickened and most of the liquid is cooked out, about 20 minutes.  

Take some of the corn husks out of the water and place on a towel.  Fill a small bowl with water.  Spread about 2 T of the dough mixture on the corn husks from the straight edge up about 3 inches, using the water to moisten your hands.  Put about 1 T of the chicken down the center of the masa.  Fold the edges of the dough over the chicken and then fold the empty end of the corn husk up.  Here's a video on rolling tamales if you need a visual.  Line your pot with wads of foil and pour some water over the foil.  Stack the tamales open side up into the pot on top of the foil.  Cover and steam over medium high heat for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (check your water level frequently and add more when necessary) or until the dough is firm and steamed through.


  1. For the meat, how much of the spices do you put in it?

    1. I tend to be very heavy handed with salt and spices, so I probably used 2 T of each. You may want to use less, so maybe start with half to a third of that. Enjoy!