Chili Tamales

The greatly antiquated man had made careful study of me, beginning the very moment we took ownership of the house.  Years later he ambled over to our modest yard with an oblong box in tow and apportioned a shocking revelation.  “I don’t know if you like beer….”   My senses were reeling.  This guy made a daily ritual of keeping a keen on my every move.  I have some clearly defining characteristics.  One of them being that I’m the Pontiff of Beer in this here town (an’ don’t you forget it.)  How could he fail to notice? My eyes bugged as the fever-pitched inner dialogue threated to become jagged, audible.

Whoa.  Hold the phone there, Cletus.  Me not like beer?  That’s as comical as believing that cops don’t desire donuts or erroneously deducing that Miley Cyrus doesn’t crave attention.

Just as these sentiments were about to sneak passed my lips, I realized that Cletus, undaunted by my sudden pallor and bewildered expression, was still speaking.

“Anyway, I won’t be needing these anymore, I brought them over for you.”

There, handsomely enveloped in mildewed cardboard were the oldest cans of Natural Light in existence.  Likely these cans were from the very twelve pack that Thomas Jefferson had purchased just before he drafted Declaration of Independence.  (For you history buffs, he wrote our nation’s founding document right before he owned the Chicago Cubs but some time after he gained national prominence for killing a rabid stegosaurus while armed with only Apple brand stylus.)

I was pondering drinking one of these century old relics as I made chili tamales.  Tamales are delicious but the process of making them is more handsy than Clarence Thomas at a sorority sleepover.  I needed something to distract me from the drudgery.



1 lb cooked chicken, shredded

¾ C salsa (I used Newman’s Own brand peach salsa)

2 C masa harina (corn flour)

2 T chili powder

1 t baking powder

1 t paprika

1 t ground cumin

1 t Mexican oregano

½ t hot red pepper flakes

1/3 C vegetable oil

2 C chicken broth



Corn husks- soaked in warm water to soften



  1. In a bowl, mix salsa and shredded chicken
  2. In a second bowl, mix flour, chili powder, baking powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, pepper flakes then add oil and broth.
  3. Mix until a pasty consistency is achieved.
  4. Mix in chicken-salsa mixture.
  5. Spoon the chili mix into corn husks and form a nice wrap.
  6. Steam on very low heat for 1 hour.


Chili Tamales

Chili Tamales

Smithsonian Institute here we come.

Smithsonian Institute here we come.

Remember the little openings?

Remember the little openings?

Tasting Notes:


To my great surprise 1) I mustered enough restraint to leave the fermented artifacts well enough alone.  2) The Pirate ably shepherded the tamale-making process through some rough pasture, as I teetered on the brink of a nervous breakdown. 3) The tamales were excellent.


Much of my surprise stemmed from the fact that I the consistency was true to tamale nature.  The flavor was just as refined and the ITP and I were most pleased.   This was totally worth the effort.  I just wish Cletus were here to see it.



This entry was posted in chicken, hybrid chili and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Chili Tamales

  1. Having lived in Arizona for over 25 years, my love of tamales is great. It was just last weekend that my wife and I learned how to make our first batch. On a different note, my Merrill’s do not have 900 miles on them yet, but I enjoy them just the same.

  2. I love, love, love tamales and make them, too. And I was a little nervous my first batch – I was also nervous that they all wouldn’t get eaten, which turned out to be the least of my worries. My kids gobbled them like candy. I wish I had one of yours right now! Merry Xmas to you and the ITP.

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s