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Chicken And Goat Cheese Tamales With Chile Verde

  • Yield: 32 to 36 tamales; 16 servings


  • 1 (8-ounce) package of corn husks, approximately 40 husks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 pound cooked, shredded chicken meat
  • 1/2 cup diced, roasted, peeled, seeded New Mexico chile peppers
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening, plus 1/3 cup melted
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken stock, or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
  • Chile Verde, accompaniment
  • Sour Cream, accompaniment


  • Separate the dry corn husks into individual pieces and remove any corn silk threads inside the husks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and remove from the heat. Place the separated husks in the water, weight with a large, round baking dish, and cover. Allow the husks to soak for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  • To make the filling, heat the shortening in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, corn, and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken, chile peppers, and cilantro, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit until cool enough to handle. When cool, fold in the goat cheese.
  • To make the dough, place the solid shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Combine the masa harina and salt in a bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, alternately add the masa harina and chicken stock to the whipped shortening, thoroughly mixing after each addition. Gradually add the melted shortening to the dough mixture with the mixer on medium speed. Place one large soaked cornhusk on a flat work surface. Using a 1/4-cup measure, spoon 1/4 cup of the masa batter into the center where the husks join and with the back of a spoon, spread it into a 4-inch square. Place about 1 generous tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the center of the masa. As though wrapping a package, fold the sides of the husk over the filling, then bring the bottom and the top over the filling, overlapping as much as possible to tightly enclose the filling. (You now will have a small package, measuring approximately 3-inches by 2-inches.)
  • Wrap a piece of kitchen twine around the middle of the tamale, as though wrapping a present, twisting the twine up and down at the middle to tie around all 4 sides, and knotting the twine at the top. Place the filled tamale on a large platter or in a roasting pan.
  • Lay or stand the tamales in a steamer insert 2-inches over a pot of gently boiling water, being careful not to pack them too tightly. Cover the top of the tamales with a layer of the remaining corn husks, then cover with a lid. Steam the tamales, covered, over the boiling water for 2 hours, replenishing the water as needed, so the pot does not go dry. Remove the tamales from the steamer insert and let cool for 10 minutes before handling.
  • To serve, unwrap the tamales and top each with a spoonful of Chile Verde and a dollop of sour cream.