Panamanian creole tamale

Tamale, when people hear that word immediately think of Mexico, but there’re tamales also in other countries, for instance Panama. It has in common the masa, made of corn, but I like to think that beside that our tamales are unique and there’s no party, reunion or special celebration without this typical delight.
Today’s recipe is a different way of making tamales, basically because I couldn’t find the Bijao leaf to wrap them individually, but it turns out fine and kind of fancy too!

1 pound chicken thighs
1 litter water
2 tsp. achiote (you can use paprika instead)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion diced
6 garlic cloves diced
1 cup coriander chopped
1 red pepper
2 tsp. tomato sauce concentrated
2 tsp. gelatin neutral
2 cups pre-cooked yellow corn meal
4 cups Creole chicken broth (don’t worry we will make it ourselves)
¼ cup olives fill with red pepper
1 tbsp. capers
1 ½ cup prunes
1 cup roasted red peppers
Salt and pepper to taste

Uff! Lots of things, I know, but is worth it.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, achiote (or paprika) and cook in the liter of water until you get the Creole chicken broth and the chicken is cooked. Take out the chicken and reserve the broth.
Now, in a skillet heat the oil and add onion, garlic, red sweet pepper, coriander and sauté for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and like half a cup of the broth, cook for another 5 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, reserve.
In a bowl put together the gelatin and 3 cups of the broth and leave to rest for 3 minutes or so, then heat it until the gelatin has dissolve. Reserve.
In a big bowl mix the corn meal and the broth mixture until you obtain a soft dough, then add half of the stew and stir.
Cut the chicken in small pieces and add it to the remaining stew, incorporate now the olives and capers and the half cup that should be remaining of the broth (if not don’t worry).
Now let’s put together the terrine.

But first I have to say that you can either have this cold or hot (I went with the hot version); if you decided for the cold, line a rectangular Pyrex with plastic wrap, assemble the terrine and put it in the fridge overnight, then turn it over a nice dish. If you go for the hot version, you will need to grease the Pyrex first and the put together the terrine, so it will be easy to unmold.
In rectangular Pyrex, prepared as said above, add half of the now Creole dough, then add a layer of roasted red peppers, then the chicken mixture, prunes and cover with the rest of the dough.
Like I said I like it hot (some do) so I put it in the oven at 350 ºF for about 40 minute.

8 Replies to “Panamanian creole tamale”

  1. I really do enjoy tamales and, because of this post, now I can make my own. Better still, when I serve guests, I can point out that these tamales are special, they’re Panamanian. That’ll be a first and I have you to thank!

  2. Thank you for sharing! My husband is Panamanian and I would love to make this tamal for him. I tried asking his mother for the recipe, but she refused to give it to me. I am Mexican-American, so our tamales are very different. I’m glad I found your recipes!! Thank you.

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