Low Fat Chicken Tamales

READY IN: 5hrs
SERVES: 9-10
YIELD: 28 tamales




  • Unwrap corn husks, remove any corn silk, and place husks into hot water to soak. You can add spices to the bath (3 tsp ground onion, 3 tsp ground garlic, 2 tsp fresh oregano, 1 tsp cumin). Cover the bowl and let the husks soak 2 - 3 hours, until very pliable.
  • Cut visible fat from chicken breast and split (to give you two large chicken breast filets). Place chicken in a medium (2 1/2qt.) stock pot. Roughly chop tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Place on chicken. Split one jalapeno and remove seeds and pith. Dice, then add to pot. Place second jalapeno, whole, into pot with two bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the chicken and vegetable (about 2 - 3 cups). Sprinkle one teaspoons chicken bouillon, 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes on top. Stir broth to distribute seasonings.
  • Bring pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3 - 4 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover, and let it sit 20 - 30 minutes, until chicken is bright white and cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken to a bowl. Remove and discard the bay leaves, retain the jalapeno (de-stem and de-seed then chop). Place remaining vegetables into a blender, and blend until nearly smooth. Some chunks are okay. Add a dash or two of Tobasco or your favorite hot sauce for a little extra kick. Set this mixture aside. Don't throw out the broth!
  • Using forks or by hand, pull the chicken breast apart into strings. Once all the breast is "stringy," chop to bite size pieces. Mix the chicken with about 1/2-cup of the salsa you just made (this is a guess, you want the chicken moistened but not soggy with salsa. Err on the dry side). Set aside.
  • To make the masa mix 3-cups of maseca (instant tamale/tortilla mix) with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine. Separately, stir 1/2-cup yogurt into 2 1/2 cups left over poaching broth (add water if you don't have enough left over broth). Once liquids are combined, stir them into the masa mix. You want to achieve a wet dough consistency-- not quite cake batter, but not bread. Sort of like a quick bread.
  • To assemble the tamales: place one or two corn husks (depending on size) on a flat surface,. Pat off any excess water. Scoop two tablespoons of masa into the center, and spread it to 1/4" thick, leaving plenty of room around the edges. Scoop 1 tablespoon of chicken mixture onto the masa, and spread in a line. Bring one side of the masa over the filling to meet the other side. Squish together and roll, tucking in the sides. Repeat until all the masa is used.
  • To steam the tamales: place tamales in a large steamer that has been filled to the appropriate level with the left-over corn husk bath water. Line tamales across one way, then turn 90º and line them the other way. Stack the tamales until all are in the pot. Cover the tamales with a heavy cloth (to absorb the condensation), then place the lid on top. Bring the pot to a boil, then simmer and steam for 2 - 3 hours, or until the masa pulls away from the corn husk easily.
  • To finish tamales in the oven: Line tamales up on the racks of the oven. Convection bake for approximately twenty minutes at 325º.
  • Serve hot and with the left over salsa!