Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil

  2. 1 large free range chicken (about 5 pounds), quartered

  3. 1 cup diced onion

  4. 1/2 cup diced green pepper

  5. 1/2 cup diced celery

  6. 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  7. 1 quart chicken stock

  8. 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

  9. 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  11. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  12. 1/2 cup golden raisins

  13. 1/4 cup capers , drained

  14. 1/2 cup sliced Spanish green olives

  15. 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

  16. 3 cups masa harina (not instant masa)

  17. 2 cups lard

  18. 3 cups chicken broth

  19. 2 pounds banana leaves

  20. Fried plantain strips, sliced lengthwise, for service, optional

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. In a large saucepan , heat the olive oil and brown the chicken pieces. Add the onions , pepper and celery, and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock , 1 teaspoon of the salt, oregano, coriander, pepper, raisins, capers, green olives and pine nuts. Simmer until the chicken is very tender and the sauce is reduced by half, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken from the bones; return the chicken to the saucepan and cook until sauce is almost completely reduced; let cool.

  2. In a food processor , combine the masa harina with the lard and salt and mix well. While the machine is running, slowly add the broth until it is fully incorporated. The mixture should resemble a thick cake batter . Cut the banana leaves into pieces about 10 or 12-inches square. Spread 6 tablespoons of the masa along the center of each piece of banana leaf until all of the masa has been used. Add 3 tablespoons of the filling in a line down the center of each portion of the corn masa. Fold the banana leaf up, 1 side at a time, so that the masa edges meet to enclose the chicken filling, and fold the banana leaf into a neat rectangular packet and secure with butcher's twine. Continue this process until all the tamales are wrapped and tied.

  3. Position a steamer basket inside a large pot (such as a stockpot or pasta pot) and line the steamer basket on the bottom with some of the extra banana leaves. Add as much water as possible to the steamer bottom (water should not touch the bottom of the steamer basket). Add the tamales to the steamer basket, cover the steamer, and bring to a boil. Steam the tamales until masa is completely cooked through and tender and tamales are set, about 1 hour. Remove tamales from the steamer and allow to cool briefly before serving with fried plantain strips, if desired.


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