Lazy Chicken Tamales

by Pamela

Lazy Chicken Tamales

Lazy Chicken Tamales

Every once in a while Craig gets his way.  No, I’m not talking about that…get your mind out of the gutter (although, he does occasionally get his way there too – hey, you brought it up) I’m talking about when he has a meal request.  It’s not like I make him beg for the dinner or treat him like he’s a prisoner on death row selectively choosing his last meal.  His usual response when I ask him what he would like for dinner sounds something like this: “ummm…hmmmm…I don’t…whatever….seriously, whatever you want to make.”  And my reply goes something like this (insert a large amount of sarcasm in your voice) “thanks for your help.”

So when he actually just offers up a request, I’m flabbergasted.  Tamales, he exclaimed, while we were sipping coffee and playing with our dog.  “What?”  “Tamales.”  “Tamales what?  What are you talking about?”  “Dinner…I want tamales for dinner.”  I suppose I should also tell you that my husband has this gift of either telling me the middle information, and no beginning or end, or he gives me the beginning and end with no middle.  It can sometimes be very challenging carrying on a conversation with the man.

After we decided that we were not going to drive to East LA to get tamales (the best place to get them if you don’t have an abuela that makes them), I agreed to make them for him.  But I am not one that can bear the tedium of soaking the corn husks, filling them, tying them and steaming the wrapped tamales.  So I broke out the corn meal and slow cooker.  (No corn husks required.)  Fine, don’t call this recipe tamales if you don’t want to.  You aren’t going to hurt my feelings.  But that sounded so much better than baked corn meal covered in slow cooked chicken with citrus.  See what I mean?

Relationship Advice

Re-learn the art of spontaneity.  When was the last time your significant other wrapped their arms around you and started kissing you?  Did you fall into their embrace?  The passionate kiss?  Or did you go for the quick peck on the lips and wriggle out of their arms only to return to whatever task you were doing when you were interrupted?  At what point when you first started dating did you ever think about not indulging your carnal desires with your special someone?  I’m guessing NEVER.  So why are you doing that now?  Give into his or your desires every now and then.  Just make sure you turn off any pans that are on the stove before you go to your special place.

Serves 8


  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Corn Grits (coarse corn meal)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Chicken Breasts (bone-in is fine, but remove skin)
  • 1 1/2 Pounds Tomatillos (quartered)
  • 1 Large Onion (cut into 8 wedges)
  • 1 Orange (juiced)
  • 1 Lemon (juiced)
  • 1 Lime (juiced)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

In a large saucepan, over high heat, bring the chicken stock to a boil.  Whisk in the corn grits (corn meal).  Reduce heat and simmer while stirring frequently to help keep from sticking.  Mixture will become very thick (approximately 30 minutes).  Add butter to corn meal and stir to thoroughly combine.

Lightly oil pie pan with olive oil.  Pour cooked corn meal into the pie pan.  Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  The top will form a crust and edges will begin to brown.  When done, remove from oven.

Place 1/2 of the chopped onion and tomatillos, and all of the garlic, into the crock pot.  Layer in 2 of the chicken breasts.  Cover with 1/2 of the remaining onions and tomatillos.  Place the remaining chicken breasts into the crock pot and cover with remaining onion and tomatillos.

Pour the juice of the orange, lemon and lime over the contents of the slow cooker.  Sprinkle the thyme into the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on High for 4 1/2 hours or on Low for 8 hours.

Break up the chicken meat with a fork.  If you used bone-in chicken breasts, pick through and remove the bones.  Be careful because there are lots of small bones in the breasts.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cut a wedge of the cooked corn meal and split in half width wise.  Put on a plate or bowl and spoon chicken mixture over the top.

Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.


Colleen August 27, 2011 at 10:56 am

Pam, I wanted to say how perfectly you talked about re-learning about the art of spontaneity!! I can not tell you how many times I have thought those exact words, but with great sadness since my beloved husband’s death in 2008. Do not wait a minute longer to fall into that embrace, hold each other like it was the first time and kiss with passion and tenderness. Teach your children to love as you love one another in their presence. You are right on target, Pam. Good luck to you and your family.

Carol November 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm

i know it has juice but it doesnt seem to be that much liquid still…

Pamela November 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Hi Carol –
Trust me…there will be enough moisture in there with just the veggies, citrus juice and chicken. The onions and tomatillos are mostly water. Because the slow cooker is covered, no moisture escapes so it all stays in there keeping your chicken moist. You’ll be shocked when the dish is done. If you would like to add some chicken broth, you can…just don’t add very much.

Carol November 8, 2010 at 8:34 am

Thanks so much for your reply!! I believe you and i wont add anything extra and im sure it will turn out amazing:) Thanks again!

Carol November 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm

This sounds so delicious! I have a question though, when you cook the chicken in the crock pot, what other liquid do you put in with the chicken in the crock pot? I feel like just the onions, garlic, tomatillos, and chicken is not enough liquid to cook it with out the chicken drying out. And to me at least, it looks like the 3 cups of chicken stock is used in the grits. Am I missing something? I really want to make it but want to clear up my question first. THANKS

Rocquie February 2, 2010 at 10:12 am

Whatever you want to call it–that sounds delicious!

Caveman Cooking January 31, 2010 at 1:35 am

Pamie, when you say “lazy” you are talking my language! Good looking recipe. Great advice, too!!

Shelly @ EC Pursuits January 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

Very creative and resourceful version! I’m sure it’s just as tasty as the original!

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