Tamal de Cazuela Con Pollo en Salsa Verde (Tamal Casserole with Chicken in Green Sauce)

By: Andrea Pons

Cooking time: 35 min

Serves: 6


  • 3 skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ white onion
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt, divided
  • 10 cups of fresh white corn
  • 1 cup of duck fat or pork fat melted
  • 1 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda 
  • 1 1/2 cups of Masa Arina ( Corn Flour, preferably Maseca) 
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 cups of Salsa Verde (see below) 

Salsa Verde:

Makes approx 3 cups

  • 9 ounces (about 6) tomatillo peppers, divided
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded
  • 1 canned jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt 


Sour Cream

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde Method:

Peel off the tomatillos’ paper husks and rinse under cold running water.

In a large saucepan, add half of the tomatillos and enough water to cover them and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 3 minutes to soften the peppers. Remove the tomatillos with a slotted spoon and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over high heat. Sear the remaining tomatillos until brown, then flip, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.

In a blender, add all of the tomatillos and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid. Blend until smooth.

To the blender, add all of the jalapeños, lime, cilantro, and salt. Blend until combined. Be careful not to liquify the salsa; it should be smooth with some texture. Taste and adjust the salt or lime as needed.

Tamal de Cazuela Method:

In a large pot with a lid, add the chicken breasts, water, garlic cloves, onion and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook for an hour until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken, garlic and onion from the broth, reserving the broth. Discard the garlic and onion. In a bowl, shred the chicken breasts using two forks.

Add 2 cups of the Salsa Verde to the shredded chicken.

In the blender jar, grind, without blending completely, 5 cups of the corn with ¼ cup of the chicken broth and blend until the ingredients are incorporated. Pour the mixture into another bowl, scraping down the bowl to get everything out. Add the remaining 5 cups of corn and ¼ cup of chicken broth and pulse to grind everything into a lumpy mixture. Pour into the same container as the rest of the mixture and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the masa harina, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add 3/4 cup of the duck or pork fat and the brown sugar. Start beating on low speed until everything is incorporated. Add the masa harina mixture and beat for one minute. Add corn mixture, increase speed to medium, and beat 5 to 6 more minutes until well blended.

Preheat the oven to 375 F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining quarter cup of the duck or pork fat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, pour in half of the corn mixture, layer the chicken breast then cover with the remaining corn mixture. Let it cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.

Then, carefully cover the pan with aluminum foil, put it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and serve hot with salsa verde and sour cream on the side.

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