Monday, May 3, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

Chicken Tamales
Makes 20 tamales

25 dried corn husks, soaked in water for at least one hour


2 pounds chicken thighs
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon salt, divided
8 tomatillos, husked
3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups masa harina

1. In a large pot, cover chicken thighs completely with water, adding an inch above. Add one tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until flesh pulls away from the bone easily and meat is no longer pink, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken and save poaching liquid. When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the bones and skin and shred the meat.

2. Preheat broiler. Arrange tomatillos on baking sheet. Broil until tomatillos begin to blacken in spots, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Cool.

3. Add tomatillos to blender with jalapenos, garlic and onion and puree until smooth. Pour mixture into saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of the poaching liquid and 1 teaspoon salt and reduce heat to medium. Cook until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

4. Using electric mixer, beat shortening, salt and baking powder until fluffy. Beat in masa harina. Beat in 1 1/2 cups of poaching liquid a little at a time.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear five corn husks into 1/2-inch thin strips lengthwise. Spread the first whole corn husk out onto a work surface with the pointed side facing toward you. Drop 2 tablespoons of dough into the middle of the husk. Top with 1 tablespoon tomatillo mixture and 1 tablespoon chicken. Fold sides of corn husk inward. Fold the top down and the bottom up, and secure with one of the thin strips. Repeat with remaining husks.

6. Pour about 1 1/2 inches of water into a large roasting pan and place a rack over it. Arrange tomatillos on rack, cover, and cook until dough is firm and separates easily from husk, about one hour. Serve with leftover tomatillo mixture.

Printable Recipe


Written by and starring: Jess Hulett
Producer: Mike Stickle
Editor: Jennifer Hobdy
Food Photographer: Anita Aguilar

Executive Producer: Pamela Canales
Executive Producer: Karen Jackovich
Executive Producer and Creator: Mike Stickle

All photography by Anita Aguilar. “Meet Jess” photo of Jessica Hulett by Linus Gelber.