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  • 1 2 1/2-to 3-pound chicken, cut into pieces
  • 3 to 4 jalapeno chiles, stems removed, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 12-ounce can tomatillos, drained
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Tamales:
    • 2 dozen corn husks
    • 4 cups dried masa
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening


    1. In a large pot, cover the chicken with water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender. Allow the chicken to cool, and when it can be handled, take the chicken out of the broth. Remove the bones and, using two forks, shred the chicken. Saute the chiles and onions in the oil until they are softened.

    2. Add the tomatillos and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Save the cilantro and sour cream for later in the process. Soak the corn husks in water to soften. Mix together the masa and salt. Slowly add the chicken broth until the mixture holds together. Whip or beat the shortening until fluffy. Add the masa and continue to beat until fluffy. Drop a teaspoonful of the dough into a glass of cold water and if it floats, it is ready. If it sinks, continue to beat and test until it floats.

    3. To assemble: Select corn husks that measure about 5-by-8 inches. If you don't have husks that wide, overlap two of them and use a little of the masa to "glue" them together. Place 2 tablespoons of the masa in the center and spread the dough thinly and evenly into a 2-by-3 inch rectangle. Place the some of the chicken and sauce down the center of the masa and top with a teaspoon of sour cream and a little of the cilantro. Fold the husk around the masa and filling, being careful not to squeeze. Take two strips of the corn husks and firmly tie each end of the tamale. Place on a rack in the bottom of a steamer or large pot. Make sure that the rack is high enough to keep the tamales above the water, and also high enough to allow a good quantity of water. Place the tamales on the rack, folded side down, or if the pot is large enough, stand them up. Do not pack tightly. Cover the tamales with a towel to absorb the moisture. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a gentle boil, and steam for 2 1/2 hours or until done. To test for doneness, open one end of the husk and if the masa pulls away from the wrapper, it is done.