Chicken Tamales

Food Network Canada
24 servings





2 ½
lb(s) chicken, thighs, on the bone
bay leaf
medium onion, chopped
tsp whole pink peppercorns
whole cloves
tsp salt
freshly cracked black pepper
juice from half a lemon
5 ½
cup chicken stock


Tbsp olive oil
onion, chopped
garlic, clove, minced
mild red chili, minced
tsp tomato paste
cup reserved stock
cup tomato, blanched, peeled, chopped
cup chopped green olives
cup chopped prunes
tsp chopped fresh oregano
juice of half an orange
tsp chopped fresh parsley
tsp chopped fresh cilantro
tsp salt

Masa Dough

1 ⅓
cup less 4 tsp. shortening, room temperature
3 ½
cup masa harina flour
cup cornmeal
tsp baking powder
pinch salt
cup hot reserved chicken stock


dried corn, husks


Step 1

Put the chicken, bay leaves, onion, peppercorns, cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and lime juice in a pot. Cover with the stock and bring just to a boil on high heat. Skim the stock.

Step 2

Turn heat to medium low. Simmer the chicken for an hour or until meat starts falling off the bone.

Step 3

Remove the chicken from the stock. Cut it off the bone and chop it into small pieces. Set aside.

Step 4

Strain the vegetables and reserve the stock.

Step 5

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Sweat the onion, garlic, and chile. Sauté about 4 minutes until soft but not browned.

Step 6

Add the tomato paste.

Step 7

Slowly add 1 cup of the reserved stock a bit at a time. Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Step 8

Add tomatoes, olives, prunes, oregano and the orange juice. Continue to simmer sauce for a few more minutes until it is heated through.

Step 9

Add the herbs and ½ teaspoon salt.

Step 10

Cream the shortening in a mixing bowl until smooth.

Step 11

Add masa harina flour, salt, cornmeal and baking powder. Mix until dough resembles coarse meal.

Step 12

Begin adding reserved broth ½ cup at a time until dough is smooth and slightly moist. Cover and set aside.

Step 13

Rinse off 26 dried corn husks. Cover in hot water and soak overnight.

Step 14

Tear one or two of the cornhusks into 48 string like strands. Alternately, use kitchen twine cut into 8 inch lengths.

Step 15

Divide dough into 6 equal parts. Divide each of these parts into quarters for 24 portions.

Step 16

Open out a cornhusk lengthwise. In the centre of the cornhusk spread one portion of dough into an oval shape about 1/2 inch thick.

Step 17

Mound a teaspoon of chicken on the centre of the dough. Pour a 1/2-teaspoon of the sauce over the chicken.

Step 18

Using the cornhusk to guide, fold the lower edge of dough up and over half the chicken. Fold top edge of dough down to cover the bottom. You will now have a little sausage roll shape.

Step 19

Pull the husk around the dough to make an elongated cornhusk parcel. Using a piece of cornhusk or string, tie each end.

Step 20

Alternately, divide each of the 6 pieces of dough into two for 12 portions.

Step 21

Pat one portion into a round flat shape. Make a well down the middle.

Step 22

Add the chicken and some sauce. Pat another portion of dough on top. Seal the edges.

Step 23

Roll it into a sausage shape and pace it in the cornhusk. Pull the husk around the dough to make an elongated cornhusk parcel. Using a piece of cornhusk or string, tie each end.

Step 24

Place a bamboo steamer over boiling water. Put tamales in the steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about 2 hours. Check periodically to make sure the pot still has water.

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