La Loma’s Chicken Tamales in Green Sauce

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

You’ve read about La Loma‘s NACCE Entrepreneur of the Year Award, thoughts on Day of the Dead Traditions, and nomination for the Heavy Table’s Silver Whisk Award for Best Purveyor, 2009; perhaps you’ve even tasted their tamales at Mercado Central or Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis or purchased them from the freezer case at Cub Foods or other grocery stores around town.

Now, finally, try for yourself the recipe that started it all.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Noelia Vasquez, together with her husband Enrique Garcia Salazar, co-owner of La Loma, tells me: “Tamales aren’t just for Christmas. They take a lot of time to make, so, in Mexico you make them whenever you gather your family. Mothers and grandmothers teach their daughters, so you have something to make together that is traditional.”

“There are 20 ways to wrap tamales. This method [demonstrated in photos below] is traditional, simple, and easy. You can also get fancy by cutting off strips of corn husks and tying the ends candy style. But, that takes longer.”

“In Mexico, we don’t serve [them] with extra sauce. But, you do need to serve it with atole, a hot beverage made with milk and flavors — strawberry, tamarind, vanilla, chocolate, arroz con leche — or hot chocolate.”

Chicken Tamales in Green Sauce
Yield: 30 tamales

Chicken and Green Sauce
Yield: chicken for approximately 30 tamales and 40 oz green sauce

3 lbs chicken, cut into pieces
½ tsp salt
2 ½ lbs tomatillos, skin removed
8 (or more, to taste) serrano chile peppers (if you want to add flavor, but minimal heat, reduce the number of peppers to 2-3)
½ onion
4 cloves garlic
Chicken bouillon to taste

  1. Add chicken meat and salt to water and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, shred and set aside.
  3. Boil the tomatillos, serrano peppers, onion, and garlic in water until cooked.
  4. Discard the water and process the sauce ingredients in a blender with the chicken bouillon.
  5. Add 12 oz of the sauce to the shredded chicken; set the remainder aside for use in the following dough preparation.
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Tamale Dough

1 ½ lbs dried corn husks for tamales, picked clean of stringy fibers
5 lbs La Loma Tamale® Masa Dough*
24 oz green sauce (from recipe above)
1 lb lard or vegetable oil

  1. Soak the corn husks in warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Wash the corn husks and allow them to drain.
  3. Mix the dough, green sauce, and lard or oil together.
  4. Knead the dough until it obtains a uniform texture.
  5. Press a small, 4-oz ball of dough and spread evenly onto the corn husk.
  6. Add desired amount of meat and sauce on top of the dough and wrap with the corn husk.
  7. After all tamales are assembled, place them upright (closed end down) in a 20-qt tamalera (tamale steamer). Steam for two hours.
  8. Serve immediately.

* La Loma Tamale® Masa Dough is available for $5 in the refrigerated case at Cub Foods. Otherwise, try 6 cups of Maseca Brand Corn Masa (do not use corn meal) plus 3 ¾ cups of chicken stock.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

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