2 packages Banana leaves from melissas.com or from local asian or latino market
5 lbs prepared masa for tamales "mixed fine texture" "central american style"
Large pot for steaming tamales
Ingredients for the sauce:
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oregano
1.5 tsp cumin
2 tsp achiote (gives tamale the orange filling color)
pinch of sugar to taste
Directions for preparing the tamales:
In a mixing bowl, add 1 ½ cups of water to the prepared masa (4 lbs of masa)(you buy prepared masa at "ethnic markets") and beat until it has consistency of creamy mashed potatoes.
Reserve about a cup of prepared masa for the "recado" sauce.
Prepare banana leaves: cut large leaves into 12"-inch sections, cut off the tough outer perimeter fiber, wash each leaf, and boil for 5 minutes to soften them for folding.
Prepare the sauce by blending all of the sauce ingredients in a blender
Cook chicken with recado sauce: 4 lbs of skinless boneless chicken, white or dark meat. Cut chicken into 2-3 oz cubes, then place chicken cubes in sauce pan and add recado sauce and enough water to cover. Cover and let boil until cooked.
Thicken the recado sauce with chicken broth: Remove all the liquid from cooked chicken and place in a bowl. add a few tablespoons of the masa mix until the recado filling sauce thickens and is just a bit runnier than the prepared masa. return this thickened sauce to your cooked chicken and mix in.
Directions for assembling the tamales:
Layer aluminum foil with a banana leaf
Add about 1/2 cup of masa to leaf
Add piece of chicken with sauce
Add filling ingredients, 1 tsp of each: cooked rice, diced potato, peas, garbanzos, bottled red pepper, and olive
Wrap tamale like a burrito
Steam in large pot for about 30-40 minutes until potato is cooked