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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maria's Chicken Tamales with Guajillo Sauce

Pin It Yesterday I crashed the Two-Way Immersion program's tamale making session.  There were 15 teachers and parents from the school gathered together to learn how to make tamales.  Maria was our local tamale expert who patiently walked us through each step.

Thankfully, half the adults spoke both Spanish and English, because our lesson was in fast-paced Spanish.  Upon realizing there was no written recipe, I  grabbed my camera, some paper and a pen, and began to record the process....because you, see, I ALWAYS need a recipe.  I don't have that cooking gift where I just know it's all going to come together.

Maria arrived at the school kitchen prepared.  She had pre-shredded 10 pounds of chicken breast (best done with chicken on the bone as it has more flavor, explained Maria).  She also came with a HUGE pot of homemade chicken broth, flavored with onions and garlic.

As we gathered together, everyone (except those with colds...thank you for just watching!) helped out and we made 160 small tamales in 3 hours.  Here's what we did:

Ingredients:

Rinsing Corn Husks
TAMALES
10 pounds shredded chicken breast, with fat, skin, and veins removed (shred while hot)
About 15 cups of hot chicken broth, flavored with onion and garlic (as hot as your hands can handle)
1 bag of Masa
48 oz. container of canola oil
2 TB baking powder
2 TB salt
corn husks, rinsed

GUAJILLO SAUCE
5-6 garlic cloves
About 12 Guajillo dried chiles which have been steamed so they're soft*
1/4 of a small onion
1 1/2 C water
1/2 TB salt

To steam and soften the  Guajillo dried chiles, place them in a pan with some water.  Cover, and place in an oven (350 degrees) until softened.  
Checking to make sure the Guajillo chiles are soft.
Preparing the Tamales
Maria

Gather all your ingredients, measuring cups & spoons, and pans.

In a large bowl or deep pan, mix the dry ingredients:
     1 bag Masa
     2 TB baking powder
     2 TB salt

Add to the Masa mix, and mix together with your hands:
     2/3 of the oil (from the 48 oz bottle)
Through a strainer, add to the Masa mix:
     10-12 cups chicken broth

Mix with your hands 5-10 minutes.  Add a little more oil (a handful at a time) until the Masa mixture no longer sticks to the sides of the pan/bowl.  It should have the consistency of chocolate chip cookie dough.  When you pick it up, it shouldn't stick to your hands.
Once the Masa is the right consistency, make little balls (about 1/3 cup of Masa), forming them into little patties.
Maria's Masa Patty
Flatten a piece of rinsed corn husk, and smoosh the Masa into the husk, with two hands. (Leave 2-3 inches of husk showing at the bottom (narrow part of husk) so it can be folded up.)

GUAJILLO SALSA

In a blender or food processor add:
     5-6 garlic cloves
     1/4 of a small onion
     about 12 of the steamed-and-softened dried Guajillo chiles
     1 1/2 cups of water


Blend for one minute.
Place 3 TB of oil in the bottom of a baking pan.  Strain the salsa (to get rid of seeds and skin) into the pan.  Add a little water to the strainer to get more of the sauce in the pan, if needed. 
Shaking and straining the salsa.
Finished Salsa
Fry or roast (350 degrees) the sauce until it bubbles around the edges.  Let it simmer for a few minutes. 

At this point you'll have a pile of corn husks with Masa, a pan of sauce, and a bowl of shredded chicken.
To fill the tamales, add a little chicken (you want to mostly taste the Masa; not the chicken), and drizzle a little salsa.  Roll the sides and tuck up the bottom end.
Once the tamales are filled, then it's time to arrange them in a pan for steaming.  Line a deep sided baking pan with some water and a dozen (or so) corn husks.
 Place the first layer of  tamales in the pan, all in the same direction.
Criss-cross the second layer and third layers.
Cover with foil, and bake in the oven (350 degrees) for one hour.  Check them as they come out of the oven to make sure the masa is cooked and firm, and the husks are slightly golden.


Eat & enjoy!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, do you think the 10 lbs of chicken was after it was pulled off the bone, or 10 lbs before it was deboned?

dg said...

That's a really good question, that I hadn't thought about.

I didn't weigh the chicken (or get a photo of it...) but just filled a similar sized bowl with water to see how many cups of cooked, shredded chicken she may have used. I'm going to guess she had about 16 cups...but that was for two recipes.

So...my educated guess would be about 8 cups of cooked, shredded chicken.

Anna said...

I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing all of your great recipes.

Thomas Cappiello said...

I accidentally came across this looking for something else. This really fantastic, I've been to and have hosted several tamale parties around Christmas time, but never have I seen this method. This appears tons better than trying to spread the masa on the husks!