Tamales with Chicken & Salsa Verde
Many of us enjoy family recipes that have been passed down over the generations. But when it comes to tamales, we’re talking about a really old recipe. Thousands of years before Columbus discovered the New World, the Aztecs (and even civilizations predating them) created tamales to be the original “to go meal,” perfect for sustaining soldiers, hunters, and travelers. They are a simple meal with all the basics wrapped into a convenient package. Masa (corn) is mixed with liquid and fats to form a dough and then topped with meat, beans, cheese, fruit, vegetables, sauces, spices, etc. Then the ingredients are wrapped into a corn husk or banana leaf, making them easy to make ahead in large batches and reheat (once a month cooking has been around longer than you thought!)
Today, tamales have become the quintessential party food in Mexico, but it is hard to say which is more of a celebration- cooking tamales or eating tamales (source). When you are cooking for a crowd, it helps to have more than one cook in the kitchen. This recipe is a smaller batch when it comes to tamales (they are usually made by the hundreds!), but I definitely wished I’d had an extra set of hands to help out. When families and friends are together for holidays, especially Christmas, it is common for them to form an assembly line in the kitchen for stuffing, wrapping, and steaming tamales. No matter what you are celebrating (don’t forget Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching) tamales are a fun way to celebrate community in the kitchen.
A few tips from my first go around: plan ahead! Make sure you decide your method ahead of time, especially if you are working alone. You definitely want to have a kitchen timer on hand, and of course you need a steamer pot. If you have a large lidded pot and a steamer basket that will work ok, but it will take longer as you will have to do more batches. If you are really serious about tamales, may I recommend a tamalera, a giant steamer pot designed for steaming tamales. But if you are looking for something a little more multi-purpose, then I would recommend one of my favorite kitchen tools, the 4th Burner Pot. I use this all the time when my stove is busy, since as the name implies, it fits perfectly on the smaller back burner. It comes with a steamer basket and a straining lid and is perfect for steaming veggies, cooking pasta , or tamales!
Whatever pot you choose, just make sure the lid fits tightly. If the steam is escaping, you will eventually run out of water and burn the bottom of your pot.
Tamales with Chicken & Salsa Verde
Kim @ Onceamonthmeals.com
- 6 ounces corn husks
- 6 cups corn masa mix
- 1 cups corn oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 7.5 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
- 14 ounces salsa verde
Place corn husks in a bowl of warm water and soak until soft. Meanwhile, beat together corn masa, oil, salt, baking powder, and broth until smooth. Set aside. In another bowl, toss together chicken and salsa verde. Spread about 1/2 cup of masa mixture over each corn husk and top with about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture. Fold in the sides of the corn husk, forming a long package. Then fold the ends toward the center on the seam side. Repeat until all tamales are filled. Fill a large pot with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place tamales in a steamer basket and drop into the pot. Steam for 35-40 minutes or until the husk peels away from the corn mixture easily. Check tamales about halfway through.
Prepare tamales per above directions. After the they have been steamed, remove tamales from the pot and place on baking sheet. Flash freeze tamales (in the corn husks). Divide frozen tamales among freezer bags, label, and freeze. TO SERVE: Thaw. Reheat in the oven at 325 for 8-10 minutes, with the husks still on.
Servings: 18 (3 per serving)
**conversion chart image provided by Erik Spiekermann
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