Chipotle Chicken Filling

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Banana leaf tamales can be filled with just about anything that you think sounds delicious. In our Winter Issue, along with an article on how to make banana leaf tamales from scratch (find the instructions here), we promised five additional filling ideas for you to use or draw inspiration from. This filling is as easy as it gets. You can prepare the chicken by simmering it in water until just cooked, or take leftover chicken from a roast or from making broth.

1-1/2 cups very coarsely shredded roasted or grilled chicken (thighs, rather than breasts, stay moistest during the long steam—starting with raw boneless, skinless thighs, you need about 4 to 6, or 1 pound)
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded (if you want it less spicy) and finely chopped
2 Tbsp of the chipotle canning sauce

1. In a small bowl, mix together the coarse chicken shreds with the chopped chipotle and its sauce. Set aside.

2. Follow instructions for preparing banana leaf tamales here. Once you are ready to add the filling onto the masa you’re spread in the center of a banana leaf, spread 1 /4 cup portion of the chicken onto the masa. Fold tamale according to the instructions; repeat with remaining banana leave squares, and steam.

Makes filling for 6 tamales

Recipe based on one which appeared in Rick Bayless’s Fiesta at Rick’s, W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 2010

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