Chicken Tamales

Total Time:
1 hr 10 min
10 min
35 min
25 min

12 servings

  • 14 large corn husks (available at Latin markets and many grocery stores)
  • 1 2 - to 3-pound rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded (about 6 cups)
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained and halved
  • 2 cups bottled green salsa
  • 2 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal mix
  • Place the corn husks in warm water; soak for 30 minutes, or until they're soft and pliable.

  • While the husks soak, stir together the chicken, cheese, cilantro, peas, olives and salsa in a bowl. Add the cornmeal mix and stir until combined.

  • Remove 2 corn husks from the water. Tear into 12 thin strips for tying up the tamales; set aside.

  • Unfold a soaked husk, wide-end up, on a work surface. Starting at the top edge, spoon 2/3 cup filling down the center and mold into a 4-by-2-inch rectangle, leaving room at the bottom for folding.

  • Roll up the tamale jelly roll-style to enclose the filling. Fold up the bottom end of the husk and tie with one of the strips of husk. Repeat with the remaining husks, filling and ties.

  • Add 1 inch of water to a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid; place a steamer basket in the pot. Arrange the tamales upright (closed-end down) in the basket. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat; cover and steam the tamales for 25 minutes, adding more water as needed.

  • Carefully remove the tamales from the steamer and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter; untie and open the husks, then garnish the tamales with chopped fresh cilantro.

  • Photography by Jim Franco

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    This recipe is featured in:

    Cinco de Mayo