Green Chili Chicken Tamales with Cilantro Sauce

Makes 20 tamales


For the green chili chicken

1 medium yellow onion, chopped medium
1 medium tomato, chopped medium
1 fresh bay leaf
2 cups water
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime zest
½ pound (2-3) chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
2 poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1-2 jalapenos, roasted, peeled, deseeded and chopped

For the tamale dough

2 cups masa harina
2 cups chicken stock, reserved from poached chicken
½ cup lard
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime zest

For the cilantro sauce

2 cups cilantro leaves
Juice of 2 limes
½ cup avocado oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped


For the green chili chicken

In a medium saucepan, combine the onion, tomato, bay leaf, water, cumin, salt, and lime zest and chicken, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Strain, reserving the liquid, and discard the bay leaves. When chicken is cool, shred the meat by pulling apart the fibers using a fork or your fingers. Place shredded meat into a medium bowl and add poblano and jalapeno chilies. Mix and set aside.

For the tamale dough

In a large mixing bowl combine the masa harina, lime zest with 2 cups of the reserved chicken liquid, mix well. In a kitchen aid or with an electric mixer, mix the lard until fluffy or about five minutes. A little at a time mix the lard into the masa harina until fully incorporated. Mix in the baking powder and the salt and mix well. The dough is ready (well mixed) when a small piece of the dough floats in a glass of cold water.

For the wrappers

For corn husk wrappers, place the corn husks in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, take out and cool slightly before handling. For the banana leaf wrappers, pass the banana leaf over the gas stove until soft and pliable, about 1-2 minutes.

For assembling the tamales

In the center of each banana leaf or corn husk, place about 3-4 tablespoons of masa harina mixture. Flatten with a spoon leaving about 1 inch around each border of either the banana leaf or corn husk. Atop that place about 2 tablespoons meat mixture. Fold over the banana leaf or corn husk like you are folding a present. Tying the wrapped package with either corn husk ties or banana leaf ties, or kitchen twine.

Place the wrapped tamales in a steamer and cover the top of the tamales with a kitchen towel (to prevent drips form making tamales soggy). Steam tamales on medium heat for about 45-60 minutes or until soft and cooked through. Serve with sauce.

For the cilantro sauce

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour in a bowl and spoon atop tamales.