Pulled Chicken and Corn Tamales

In this recipe, corn husks are lined with masa harina, a Mexican corn flour.

  • Yield: Makes about 34
Pulled Chicken and Corn Tamales

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 1996


  • 44 dried corn husks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 of a 13 1/8-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (3/4 cup)
  • 2 roasting chickens (4 pounds each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/4-cup dice
  • 1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 6 cups masa harina


  1. Soak corn husks in water for 24 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, toast cumin, peppercorns, and oregano, shaking pan often, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Let cool, and finely grind. Puree spices, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and chipotles in food processor.

  3. Roast chicken for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with spice mixture; roast until juices run clear when chicken is pierced in thigh, 30 minutes more. Let cool.

  4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; saute, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add corn and tomatoes; cook until corn is soft and tomatoes start to break down, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl.

  5. Shred chicken meat. Add chicken, stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and cilantro to onion mixture. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate.

  6. Whisk together masa harina, remaining tablespoon salt, and 6 cups warm water.

  7. Pat husks dry. Set aside 34 of the best husks; peel remaining ones into ribbons to use as ties.

  8. Working with a few husks at a time, spread about 3 tablespoons masa mixture in center of each; mound 2 heaping tablespoons chicken filling on lower third. Fold husks over, enclosing filling; tie ends with husk ribbons.

  9. Place tamales in a steamer basket over boiling water; reduce heat, cover, and steam until masa is cooked and filling is hot, about 45 minutes. Slice open husks, and serve.


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