Florance Garcia's Homemade Rojos de Pollo Tamales Recipe by Chef Gigi

Florance Garcia's Homemade Rojos de Pollo Tamales Recipe

Who doesn't love a hot tamale? Tamales are a definitive Mesoamerican dish made of masa or dough steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. Making tamales can be time-consuming, but the reward is worthwhile, and the company is usually good. This versatile dish is enjoyed all year round, but making tamales is especially popular during celebrations because of the importance of corn as a substance of life for many cultures.

My mother-in-law is 100-percent Native American, from Laguna, Pueblo, in New Mexico. We make these gluten-free tamales together every New Year. But don't just enjoy these flavorful homemade rojos de pollo tamales once a year! This chicken tamale recipe is not that hard to make, and can be a wonderful way to spend a day with the family.

To make these chicken tamales you will need to gather the following ingredients: corn husks, a roasting chicken, lard, masa harina, chicken broth, baking powder, salt and the ingredients for my Tex-Mex Sauce. Serve these rich, chicken tamales for lunch or dinner with your favorite Mexican side dishes like refried beans, Spanish rice or guacamole

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Cuisine: Mesoamerica / Mexican
Prep Time: 3 1/2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours and 45 minutes
Servings: 36 (makes about 3 dozen tamales)


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Recipe Notes

  • The penny should rattle the entire time that the tamales are steaming. If the penny stops rattling, you know that you need to add more water to the pot.
  • Uncooked tamales can be refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for up to one month.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Place corn husks in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 2 hours. Drain, place on a clean work surface and cover with a damp towel.
  2. Prepare the Tex-Mex Sauce recipe and add a whole chicken. Salt and pepper the chicken and place in the pot with the sauce. Add any additional water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until chicken is 165 degrees F, about 30 to 45 minutes. Drain, pick and shred it with your fingers. Discard the bones and the skin. Place the meat back into the sauce, set aside and begin making the dough.
  3. Place the lard in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamy. Add masa harina, chicken broth, baking powder and salt. Beat until all ingredients are well combined. Test if the masa is ready by dropping a small ball of masa into a glass of cold water; if it floats, it's ready; if not, keep working the dough a little longer.
  4. Select one wide corn husk. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the masa mixture onto the corn husk, thinning it evenly with wet hands and a pastry scraper. Fill the husk 2 inches from the bottom and 1/4 inch from the top. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the saucy chicken filling to the masa mixture's center. Fold the sides of the husk together, one over the other. Fold the bottom of the husk over the seam of the two folded sides. Repeat with remaining husks. Set aside seam sides down.
  5. Place a penny in the bottom of a large, tall stock pot. Add a steamer insert to the bottom and fill with water just below the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring water to a boil. Add tamales with the open side up leaning vertically against one another, and steam until the filling is heated through and separates from the husk, about 1 hour. Turn the heat off and allow the tamales to rest for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with any additional Tex-Mex sauce.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 65

Total Fat: 3.1g

Saturated Fat: 1g

Cholesterol: 19mg

Sodium: 213mg

Total Carbohydrate: 2.6g

Dietary Fiber: 0.4g

Total Sugars: 0.2g

Protein: 6.3g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 17mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 105mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
How absolutely wonderful! Love the story behind these tamales, and love knowing how they are made. We love tamales and how fun to make them at home!

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