This post has been brought to you in collaboration with HERDEZ. But this easy recipe for savory Shredded Chicken Tamales is all my own. #LasPosadas #HERDEZ #LatinaBlogger Here I’m sharing tips for the easiest Tamales ever. Total prep time is less than an hour with three hours of cook time for the chicken in a crock pot and a one hour cook time on the Tamales. The flavor is outstanding and these Shredded Chicken Tamales are moist and perfectly packed. Plus, learn how you can WIN one of $1,000 in prizes including the chance to have a personal chef prepare a meal for up to four people in your home. Personal chef? Yes – please!
Easy Recipe: Shredded Chicken Tamales
If you’ve ever wanted to make Mexican tamales but were a bit intimated by the mystery behind tamales – the corn husk wrapper, the steaming process, and the spices and flavors, you’ve come to the right place. If you follow this recipe you’ll have delicious Shredded Chicken Tamales. They are moist and packed with flavor thanks to a savory shredded chicken cooked in tomato sauce and paired with peppers, onions and olives. My husband devoured these and asked for more.
I decided to make these shredded chicken tamales for two reasons: I wanted to incorporate my favorite dish – Chicken Fricassee into the tamale stuffing; and tamales are a traditional Mexican dish used as part of Las Posadas, a Mexican holiday that happens at Christmastime every year. I want to teach my children about Latin American culture as I am a Latina myself and Las Posadas is a wonderful opportunity to teach them about an historical Mexican tradition.
What is Las Posadas?
Las Posadas (translated in English as “the inns”), is a 9-day Mexican Christmas tradition based on the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph and their search of a safe place, or “inn,” to stay before the birth of Jesus. From December 16-24 each year, friends, families and neighbors in Mexico participate as “innkeepers” and host a Posada at a different home each night.
The evening’s host family provides traditional Las Posadas food—an essential element to the festivities. Sweet and savory tamales, cinnamon-chocolate champurrado and warm buñuelos are some of the many welcoming treats offered to guests.
As the night draws to an end, aguinaldos (small bags filled with treats and candies) are distributed as parting gifts to the guests of the inn for their celebratory “journey.” (Excerpt taken from the HERDEZ web site – you can read more at HERDEZ online.)
Take part in a Mexican Tradition
I can’t think of a more wonderful way to share the joy of Christmas than with a meal remembering the journey of Mary and Joseph, and celebrating the arrival at the “inn” where she gave birth to their firstborn son.
Las Posadas is an authentic Mexican holiday and in honor of it’s significance in Mexican culture, The HERDEZ® brand is celebrating by giving away over $1,000 in prizes to families who share their Las Posadas traditions. Just follow HERDEZ on Instagram @herdeztraditions and share photos with the hashtag #MisPosadas and the handle @herdeztraditions. For more contest details read the details here: Las Posadas Instagram Contest. Limit one entry per person per day.
Creating these savory Shredded Chicken Tamales warmed not only my family’s tummies but their hearts as well. I hope this recipe inspires you to enjoy the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas over the holidays.
Homemade Shredded Chicken Tamales
You can serve these Shredded Chicken Tamales with your favorite salsa, cilantro, sour cream, my seven layer dip, or any of your favorite Mexican themed toppings. You can increase the spicy flavors or decrease them based upon your personal taste by simply adding jalapeño peppers to this recipe.
For our family celebration in honor of Las Posadas, I served these Shredded Chicken Tamales with refried beans topped with shredded cheese, Spanish rice, and HERDEZ Salsa Casera.
Ingredients for this Easy Recipe: Shredded Chicken Tamales
The Shredded Chicken (cooked in a crock pot)
- 3 Skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 2 Cups of chicken broth
- 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Sofrito
- 1 Tablespoon Recarito
- 1 Tablespoon garlic salt
Preparing the Masa (batter)
- 2 Cups instant corn masa mix (corn flour)
- 1 1/3 Cups chicken broth or water
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2/3rd Cup Lard or Vegetable Shortening
Preparing the Tamales
- 1 1/4 lb. shredded chicken (from recipe ingredients above)
- 1 1/2 lb. of prepared Masa (from recipe ingredients above)
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 6 Corn Husks
- 4- 6 Cups Water (for steaming)
- 4- 6 Cups Water (for soaking husks)
- 3/4 Red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 Orange bell pepper diced
- 1/2 White Onion diced
- 1/2 Cup diced olives
- 2 Cups shredded cheese – any flavor
- 1 Can refried beans
- 1 Cup HERDEZ Salsa – either Salsa Casera or Salsa Verde
Directions for this Easy Recipe: Shredded Chicken Tamales
For me, it’s easier when I prepare all of the ingredients and set them into prep bowls to make for easy cooking and assembly.
Step 1: Rise and cut chicken. I removed all of the fat from the chicken with a pair of kitchen scissors. Then I rinsed the chicken. I set the chicken aside in a glass bowl. I then placed all of the required ingredients into glass bowls.
Step 2: Prepare the crockpot or slow cooker. Pour two cups of chicken broth into the crockpot. Add the 15 oz. can of tomato sauce, two tablespoons of Sofrito, 1 tablespoon of Ricarito, and one tablespoon of garlic salt. Mix well with a spoon. Add the chicken, and make sure the chicken is covered in the broth and tomato sauce mixture. If your crock pot happens to be deeper or wider than mine, just add more broth or water until the chicken breasts are submerged. Cook for 3 hours on high. Time varies depending upon your crock pot and the thickness of the chicken breasts you are using. Check the meat with a meat thermometer at 2 and a half hours. When the internal breast reaches 165 degrees farenheight your chicken is done cooking. When in doubt, cut the meat open. Make sure the meat is white and cooked through.
Step 3: Shred the chicken. Using two forks, shred the chicken into pieces. The chicken should pull-apart easily. From this point, you can add it to nearly anything. I completed this step the night before I made my Tamales. I shred the chicken and stored it, with the sauce, in the fridge until the next day.
When you’re ready to make the Tamales, allow yourself at least a half hour to prep and an hour to steam the tamales.
Step 4: Soak the corn husks. My corn husks had a slight vinegar smell to them. I soaked them to soften the husks and remove some of the vinegar smell. I used a jar full of water to weigh the husks down in a pot of water (no need to heat the water).
Step 5: Prepare the Veggies. I brought the tablespoon of butter and tablespoon of cooking oil to boil in a pan and I pan fried the diced onions, orange bell peppers, and red bell peppers. Once they were fried, I set them aside to using them as stuffing for the tamales.
Step 4: Prepare the masa (batter). Mix the corn flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the chicken broth or water and mix throughly. You can use a stand mixer but the batter may stick to the mixing wands. You can dislodge the batter with a butter knife and knead the dough by hand or mix with a fork until everything is well combined.
Step 5: Prepare the lard or vegetable shortening. I used a hand mixer to mix the shortening to whip air into it and to ensure a nice smooth mix. Once it was soft and smooth, I added it to the masa mix and blended until completely combined.
Step 6: Prepare the tamales with filling. Take a corn husk and remove from the water. Lay it on a flat surface. You can have your ties ready to go behind the corn husk or you can add them once your corn husk is wrapped. There are many different wrapping techniques. For these tamales, I wrapped these like a small gift.
- First take 1/2 to 3/4 cup of masa and place it on the corn husk – create a ditch inside the masa for the filling.
- Add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of the cooked bell peppers and onions to the masa. You can also add a few pieces of diced olives.
- Add one to two tablespoons of the shredded chicken mix to the “moat”.
- Cover the chicken with a flattened piece of masa and use your fingers to join the masa top to the masa bottom.
Step 7: Enclose the masa in the corn husk. Fold the shortest side up over the masa first, then the side across from it, and then the two other sides. Use baker’s twine to tie everything together. You don’t want the corn husk too tight – you need to leave a little room for the masa dough to expand.
Step 8: Steam the tamales. I used a veggie steamer grill pan on top of a wok covered with a glass lid to steam the tamales. Be very careful to keep an eye on water levels while steaming. You do not want to run out of water and ruin your pot, or burn the tamales. The steaming process takes an hour using the instant corn masa mix. Set your kitchen timer to replenish the water in the steamer as often as needed. I recommend checking in no less than 20 minute intervals to ensure you do not run out of water. You want the pot to be set to boil at a full steam but not the highest temp to avoid running out of water too quickly. I included four cups of water in the recipe instructions but you may need more or less depending upon the steaming tool you are using.
Step 8: Plate the tamales. While the tamales were cooking I cooked some Spanish rice and refried beans. I think the best way to serve these Shredded Chicken Tamales is to offer them with fresh cut cilantro and HERDEZ salsas.
Tasty Mexican dining
This is such an flavor-filled dish. You can easily create a bar of toppings with sour cream, cheese, salsa, cilantro, and peppers so that everyone in the family will be able to add toppings to match their personal taste. You can keep these tamales warm in the oven inside the corn husks until guests are ready to eat. They store in the fridge for up to four days and in the freezer for up to three months.
If you’re hosting Las Posadas in your home, you can keep these tamales warm in the oven so everyone can enjoy a hot meal all evening long. In our family, guests arrive around the clock over the holidays. Dishes like this are perfect for holiday entertaining. They’re hot and ready to eat whenever anyone gets hungry.
WIN $1,000 in Prizes in the HERDEZ #MisPosadas Contest
As this holiday brings family and friends together to enjoy food and celebrations, HERDEZ® brand is holding a photo contest on Instagram. The Share the Magic of #MisPosadas contest lasts from December 7th – January 6th.
Each week, a fill in the blank question relevant to the holiday will be posted for fans to answer with a photo. Three top winners will be selected as well as honorable mentions. Prizes are as follows:
– Grand Prize: Dinner prepared by a personal chef for up to 4 people in your very own home!
– 2nd Place: $250 Gift Basket
– 3rd Place: $200 Gift Basket
– Honorable Mention: Custom T-shirts
To enter, submit a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #MisPosadas to answer the weekly fill in the blank question.
Where to find HERDEZ
I found everything featured here at Walmart. You can also find many of these ingredients at major grocery store retailers.
How does your family celebrate Christmas?
Does your family participate in Las Posadas? What is your favorite Las Posadas recipe? What are some of your favorite family holiday traditions? Please leave a comment below, share a recipe idea, and join the conversation. I love hearing from my readers.
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