Califonia Bountiful
Main Dish

Tamale pancake with barbecue chicken

Chef John Ledbetter's tamale pancake with barbecue chicken is almost like deconstructed tamale served with guacamole, cilantro cream and tortilla strips. The whole corn kernels in the pancake offer an excellent texture and the flavors in the dish marry beautifully together.

Chef John Ledbetter

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Cilantro crème fraîche
1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

Tamale pancake
4 1/2 cups corn kernels (preferably fresh from about 4 ears)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup masa harina
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 tbsp. (or more) butter, room temperature, divided use
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup purchased barbecue sauce
Tortilla strips


For cilantro crème fraîche: Puree cilantro and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Place puree in a bowl and fold in sour cream and crème fraîche and blend together well. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour for flavors to blend.

For tamale pancake: Combine corn, milk, masa harina, salt and pepper in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook until liquid is absorbed and mixture is thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in bell pepper, green onions and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

Mix 1 tbsp. butter and baking soda in a small bowl. Stir butter mixture into batter (batter will be very thick). Cool completely. (Can be prepared ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Melt 1/2 tbsp. butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook patties until golden brown, adding more butter to skillet as needed, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet and keep warm in oven.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté 2 minutes. Add chicken and barbecue sauce. Stir until chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Place pancake on plate and top with chicken mixture. Drizzle with cilantro crème fraîche and garnish with tortilla strips and cilantro.

Serves 6

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