Salsa Verde Tamales


Who doesn’t love tamales? They are one of my many favorite Mexican foods. All that goodness wrapped into a delicious package. They, along with Pozole are a traditional Christmas food in Mexico. Who can wait all the way until then to eat them? I sure can’t, tamales are one of those foods that you want to keep around in your freezer to heat up and enjoy all year round. I have helped make tamales many times but have always been disgusted by the massive amounts of lard that goes into them. Now I know lard can be a healthy fat if it’s from a properly raised pig but I don’t have that option so I don’t use lard.  So I decided to dedicate a day to making salsa verde tamales con pollo (chicken tamales with green sauce). I thought that I would consume my entire day but it didn’t! Of course I only made about 4 dozen, normally people make 100 plus. Since this was an experimental batch I didn’t want to make very many. I hope you enjoy this yummy treat!!

So first off I started my morning off with roasting my chicken. I popped it into the oven and then went for a walk. When I walked in the door I was greeted by the intoxicating aroma of chicken mingling with garlic, onions and spices!

Roasted Chicken

4 to 5lb chicken (preferably free range grass feed)
10 cloves of garlic
1/2 large onion
Sea salt
Olive oil
4 Cup of water

1. Place your chicken into a roasting pan or dutch oven. I left the organs and the neck for added flavor.

2. Put garlic cloves under the skin of the chicken

3. Chop the onion and scatter around the bottom of the pan. Pour in water.

4. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle the cumin and salt all over the bird.

5. Cover the pan and place in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 to 3 hours. My chicken was partially frozen so it took 3 hours to cook. If your chicken is completely defrosted then you will need to cook it for a much shorter time.

6. Once the chicken has cooled a bit remove the meat and sheard. Save the bones to make a nourishing and delicous broth. Reserve the water in the bottom of the pan that is now a yummy broth for making the tamale dough.

This chicken is now ready for making tamales. You can also use the meat in salad for a yummy Mexican twist. Or just serve it as is with rice and a veggie.

After lunch I decided to start the salsa. This is a very simple recipe that takes very little time to make yet tastes delicious!

Salsa Verde (Green Salsa)

10 tomatillos
1 Pablano chile
1 Jalepeno chile
2 Serano chiles
1/4 yellow onion
1/3 of a bunch of cilantro
1 tsp Sea salt

1. Remove the hulls from the tomatillos. They will be sticky, don’t worry if you can’t wash it all off. Remove the stems.

2. Place all the tomatillos and chiles into a sauce pot. Cover with water and boil until soft.

3. Remove the tomatillos and chiles from the water and place in a blender. Add all the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

4. It’s as simple as that. A yummy salsa perfect for tamales, eating with chip or putting on top of whatever you’re eating!

Tamale Dough (Masa)

I would have liked to use an organic version of masa but I couldn’t find one at the time of making the tamales. I used Maseca brand. You can find an organic masa on amazon.

6 cups Masa (corn flour, NOT corn meal)
2 tsp Sea salt
6 TBS Organic Palm Shortening
4 cups Chicken broth (reserved from roasting your chicken)
1 cup Salsa verde

Okay now come the part where you asemble the tamales! I was taking pictures if the process but forgot to part way through. So next time I make them I will have to take some more pictures and add them in.

Salsa Verde Tamales

Tamale Dough
Shreded chicken
2 cups Salsa Verde
10 to 40 green olives
4 medium potatoes

1. Remove the corn husks from the bag and place them in a pot of hot water. Continue to heat on low for   at least 30 minutes. You want them to be pliable.

2. Add your shreded chicken to a skillet and cover with  about two cups of salsa verde.

3. If you have large olives you will want to cut them in 1/2 or in 1/4. If they are small you might just want to leave them whole. I prefer to remove the pit but you don’t have too, just watch out when you bit into the tamale. Place in small bowl and set aside.
4. Cut the potatoes into small, thick strips. You don’t have to remove the peel.  I used red potatoes because that is all I had. Normally I would use  regular old potatoes. Place in a small bowl, cover with water  to previent them from turning brown and set aside.
5. Now comes the fun part! Asembling the tamales! It is best to do this with a firend. My sister helped me since I am visiting her right now. Remove the soaked corn husks from the pot.
6. Pick out the husk you want to use. Normally one big one is enough. If the are small you may have to use two, overlapping a bit.
7. Spred about 2TBS of the dough across the bottom half of the husk, narrow end pointing away from you about 1/8 in thick. Going a little more than half way up, leaving a tiny bit of room on the sides.
8. Now place a small amount of chicken in the middle of the dough. I can’t remember the exact amount I used.
9. Place a potatoe sclice in the middle of the chicken and an olive at the end.
10. Fold in one side and then the other. Fold up the bottom. If you want you can tie them closed with a small strip of husk. I don’t.
11. In a large pot pour in a about two cups of water. Place as many tamales that will fit in the pot, open end facing up. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and steam for 30 to 45 minutes.
12. Remove from the pot and enjoy!! You will know that they are done when the husk can be pulled away from the masa and not stick. I served mine with refried beans and rice. The rice recipe will soon to follow, hopefully! This recipe made almost 4 dozen tamales. They can be frozen to save for later. Simply let them defrost and steam until warm.
About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley is the writer at Nourishing Simplicity, where the focus is on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living and faith. Ethnic and Mid-west foods are always a favorite in her kitchen and on her blog. She is also the author of the book Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. Katie Mae spent 10 years as a missionary dorm "mama" for a gaggle (almost 40) of amazing deaf girls at a school for the deaf in Baja California, Mexico. Now she finds herself state side ready to embrace God's next adventure. A cup of tea or coffee and a bit of dark chocolate make an appearance at some point in any given day. You can connect with the Nourishing Simplicity community on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

  2. Thanks so much for participating in Monday Mania! Love your roast chicken recipe – thank you for taking the time to share it!

  3. I’ve never made tamales but I do love them…this is one of the most thorough tutorials I’ve seen. I feel that I could make them now with the info provided. 🙂 Thanks for linking up to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!

    Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  4. yep, Tamales are one of my favorite comfort foods! I agree with your discussion on lard. If using leaf lard, then go for it, but most store lard, like Armour is partially hydrogenated to keep it firm in the box on the shelf. You can substitute butter for the lard, which I have done on many occassions. Thanks for sharing this on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! 🙂 alex@amoderatelife

  5. My friend Margie has a tamale party every Dec. 5 of us get together and make 300 or so tamales. We then have families and friends arrive for a pot luck dinner. I’ve never added the potatoe but my tomatillos are waiting on the vine as we speak. This is a nice variation of our recipe to try. We usually make pork and chicken, but with red chile. Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. Green salsa ! Cool. Have never made this. Nice variation – thanks for sharing!

    Would love it if you would consider sharing this at Monday Mania blog carnival at The Healthy Home Economist. Recipes, green tips, personal stories, book reviews, vlogs etc are all welcome – an eclectic mix of awesome blog posts! Hope to see you there!

  7. Oh yes, I definitely DO love tamales! This is one of my favorite kinds, too…though I’ve never added potatoes, I’m gonna have to try that next time. I do love the flavor of lard, but it’s nice to have an alternative, for sure! I’m so glad you linked these up to Two for Tuesdays this week =)

  8. Oh, these look so delish! Tamales are one of my all time favorite comfort foods. But the lard is my favorite part! Of course, I’ve got access to the good stuff 😉 Thank you for sharing your recipe at Two for Tuesday.


  1. […] also skim the fat off the top after it is cooled. I buy pork fat to render my own lard. The best tamales and refried beans are made with fresh lard. There is a depth of flavor that just can’t be […]

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