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Rachael shares her "easy-ish" version of tamales, prepared with pulled rotisserie chicken meat. They still take a bit of time and effort, but the result is worth it! You can simplify the process even more by using store-bought salsa verde. 

"My favorite tamale recipes are made with lard, but not grocery-grade lard—really good-quality lard from a great butcher or a few farmer friends. Being over fifty, as my husband and many of our family and friends also are, I understand that 'lard' can be a trigger word for health concerns. This recipe is made with vegetable shortening, but there are many critics of that, as well. Regardless, this is as much of a streamlined recipe as I could do. John's favorite version would be the traditional pork filling with red sauce, but my sister and mom don't eat much pork (or lard), so I used chicken and green sauce." —Rach 

For more tamale inspiration, check out this budget-friendly Tamale Casserole and Richard Blais' Chorizo-Chile Tamale Stuffing


For the Husks:
  • 16 dried corn husks, ends trimmed
For the Salsa Verde (Green Sauce) and Chicken:
  • 6 large tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, skin-on
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cayenne pepper sauce, to taste
  • Large handful of cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (if using)
  • 2 ½ cups finely pulled rotisserie chicken or poached chicken
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
For the Masa:
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups masa harina
  • ½ cup vegetable stock, warm
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups chicken stock or bone broth, warm


Serves: 4


For the husks, bring a pot of water to a slow boil.   

10-Quart Covered Stockpot

10-Quart Covered Stockpot

Rachael Ray
$80 $56

Add husks and remove from heat. Let the husks stand for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain well and pat dry. 

For the salsa verde and chicken, preheat broiler and char the tomatillos, poblano peppers, jalapeno or serrano pepper, onions and garlic to blacken skins. Transfer poblano peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic to sweat. Cool to handle, then peel the skin off the peppers and remove the seeds, if you want a less spicy salsa. Remove garlic from skins and add everything to the bowl of a food processor, along with the cumin, lime juice, hot sauce, cilantro, salt and pepper. Process to combine. 


Char the tomatillos and poblano peppers under the broiler until blackened. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic to sweat. Once cooled, remove the skins and seeds. Heat olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the jalapeno or serrano pepper, onions, cumin and salt and soften them a few minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, stir, add lime juice and hot sauce and stir to combine. Add to processor with poblanos and tomatillos. Add cilantro, salt and pepper and process until smooth.  

Place about two-thirds of the salsa in bowl, add chicken and stock and combine.       

For the masa, whip the shortening in a stand mixer until fluffy or whisk by hand.   

Add the baking powder and salt and whip to combine. 

Add the masa harina and combine until you have a thick, but shaggy dough.  

Slowly add the warm stock in stages, reserving a cup.  

Fill a water glass with warm water. Add a small bit of corn dough; if it floats, your masa is good. If not, add more warm broth and combine.       

To serve, set up a steamer over a pot with 5 inches of moderately boiling water. Keep it at a medium simmer. You can also make a steamer of sorts by placing a colander over a large pot with a lid.   

Fill each husk with about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the masa and top the masa with a bit less of the chicken filling, 2 to 3 tablespoons, depending on size of the husk. 

Tuck in 3 sides of each tamale, leaving the cut end open, and stack on an angle in steamer with cut end of husk up. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook 45 to 60 minutes.  

Serve the tamales, opened up from their husks, with dots of the remaining salsa on top.