Hot Tamales in a Hot Minute

Quick Chicken-and-Cheese Tamales // © Tina Rupp

Make tamales superfast by using store-bought rotisserie chicken and wrapping them in plastic to shorten steaming time. // © Tina Rupp

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

It seems like a common thread is developing here that could be read as laziness. I like to think of it as efficiency and distillation. That and being able to get dinner on my table (and those of my working readers) at a reasonable hour. Tamales traditionally take a long time to prepare: The meat for the filling needs slow braising, the masa needs time to develop, the corn husks need time to soak, the tamales require time to assemble, and they take a surprisingly long time to steam.

Of course it's worth it, but not at 5:45 p.m. on a Tuesday evening after a full day at the office—or in my case, the kitchen. So, I've come up with a few shortcuts. First, I shred rotisserie chicken and fold it into the masa along with the rest of the filling ingredients. Then after forming the tamales, I wrap them in plastic to reduce steaming time to about 25 minutes (enough time to put together a salad and side vegetables). SEE RECIPE »

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