1 C instant masa harina (available at Harmon’s, Red Mountain and 3 Amigos)

½ t baking powder

½ t salt

1-2 t diced chipotle en adobo

¼ C water

¼ C solid vegetable shortening

½ C + 2 T chicken stock (vegetable stock may be substituted)

1 C shredded cooked chicken

1 ½ C prepared salsa verde, divided (see recipe below)

½ C shredded cheddar or jack cheese

½ 8oz bag dry corn husks soaked in warm water for 2 hours OR substitute six 8 inch square sheets of parchment paper.

Chopped cilantro, sour cream, pico de gallo and hot sauce for serving.


*Please keep in mind that this is a streamlined method for making tamales. I use the food processor first to make the green tomatillo sauce and then to make the tamale dough. I folded my tamales in the traditional corn husks, but parchment paper can also be used.

Prepare the salsa verde: Combine one 14.4 oz. can tomatillos (drained), 1 clove garlic, ½ jalapeno pepper, ¼ chopped white onion, and 1 bunch cilantro in food processor.  Process until well combined and smooth. Heat 1 T oil in a sauce pan and add pureed tomatillos and cook until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and add ½ t salt. Set aside.

Prepare the masa: Pulse the masa harina, baking powder, salt and chipotle in the work bowl of your food processor. Add the vegetable shortening and with quick, short bursts combine the ingredients. Add the water and pulse briefly. (Mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal.) Then with machine running drizzle in the stock and process until evenly blended but not over processed. The dough should be soft and tacky but not overly sticky and wet. You may need to add more stock or masa harina to achieve the proper consistency.

Finish and steam the tamales: Fill the bottom of a steamer basket with about 2” of water.  Line the bottom of the insert with a layer of crumpled corn husks or parchment paper.

Place a corn husk or piece of parchment on your work surface.  Pinch off a golf ball sized piece of the masa and with wet hands, flatten the dough to approximately 3 inches square and ¼” thick.  Spread a bit of the sauce, shredded chicken and cheese lengthwise down the center of the dough. *For a vegetarian option black beans may be used in place of the chicken. Take care not to overfill the tamale.

Fold the husk (or parchment) together until the edges overlap and the masa and filling are completely enclosed by the husk or parchment. Fold the bottom edge of the husk or parchment up, leaving one end open.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Stand the filled tamales in the steamer basket with the open ends up.

Cover the tamales with a layer of remaining corn husks or parchment and a few sheets of paper toweling. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.  Steam the tamales 30-40 minutes.  Add water to the pan as needed to be sure it doesn’t run dry.  Tip:  I add 1 T of vegetable oil to the water. If the water boils away, I hear the oil sizzling on the bottom of the pot to let me know to add more water. (Eva strongly disagreed with my idea here – but between us, I think it’s genius.)

To Serve: Open the husks to reveal the tamales. Drizzle with additional sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream and cilantro.

Serves 2 with leftovers