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Chipotle Chicken Tamales

As the weather cools and I start harvesting the last of my garden's bounty, I'm trying to branch out in my methods of using it up and making it last. When one of my husband's coworkers ended up with 10 jalapeño plants, we started receiving bags of them on a weekly basis. I used them in salsas, and I stuffed them for appetizers. I've frozen them and cooked with them and then we hit a wall.

My husband came up with our next plan of action, one that involved actually requesting all the red jalapeños his coworker could find and wrangling a few off of our plant as well. Finding red ones in our garden didn't prove to be too difficult as I had been letting them sit there for quite some time. After we'd located them, we went about smoking them into chipotles.

And once we had chipotles the door was opened to all the other things we could do with them, and high on the list for me were tamales. After learning that my favorite tamale restaurant had started using shortening for better shelf life, I knew I'd have to start making my own, starting with a big batch of chipotle-style.

Chipotle Chicken Tamales

Chipotle Chicken Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup diced onion

20 chipotle chilies, stems removed

1 cup tomato sauce

2 cups water

¼ cup cider vinegar

3 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken

2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add in onion and cook for 7-10 minutes until translucent. Add the chipotles, tomato sauce, water and cider vinegar. Cook until liquid is reduced to a thick sauce, about 40 minutes. Add in shredded chicken and continue to cook for 4 minutes until chicken is heated through. Reserve ¼ cup of the adobo sauce for the tamale dough.

Masa Dough:

3 cups masa flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 ¼ cups water

½ cup chicken broth

¼ cup reserved adobo sauce from filling

½ cup lard, melted

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder in a large boil. Add the water, chicken broth, adobo sauce and melted lard. Mix together to form a soft paste-like dough. Taste the dough and add salt if necessary.

Putting it together:

1 package corn husks soaked in water

Masa Dough (above)

Chipotle Chicken Filling (above)

Take one corn husk at a time and spread with 1/4 cup of masa dough into a 4"x4" square at the wide end of the corn husk and off center so that you leave a good inch of uncovered husk. Add two tablespoons of filling or so in the center of the masa dough and spread into a line. Fold the edge of the corn husk lengthwise so that both ends of the masa meet. Fold the extra tail of the corn husk up and finish rolling the overlapped corn husk. Secure with corn husk ties.

Add water to the bottom of a large stockpot, with a steamer basket at the bottom so the tamales are not sitting in the water. Line with a tea towel and then fill the pot with the tamales standing up, wrapped side down and open side up. When the pot is full of tamales, cover them and place over medium heat and steam for one hour. Remove from heat, allow them to cool slightly and serve.

Chipotle Chicken Tamales can be frozen or refrigerated in airtight containers. Be sure to fill completely to avoid overexposure to air, and allow them to cool before freezing.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson


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