Monday, April 9, 2012

Tamales: Pepper Jack and roasted green chiles

For Spring Break the Witch and family went on a little trip to Santa Fe, NM.  The weather was beautiful.  The scenery was stunning.  The food, oh my the food!!  It was amazing, delicious, and abundant.  I would love to have taken home a 55 gallon drum of green chili alas it wouldn't fit in my car.   Before embarking upon our voyage I asked the assistance of a friend who grew up in the Santa Fe area for her list of hot spots not to be missed while in the Land of Enchantment.  Arielle suggested that I stop by Alicia's tortilleria and get myself  'some of the best tortillas in all of New Mexico'.  Not one to pass by the 'best of' anything, I quickly obliged.  The Kitchen Witch left the great state of New Mexico with 3 lbs of corn tortillas, a dozen flour tortillas and 2 lbs of prepared masa harina -  all for $8.75!!  

Today the Kitchen Witch is going to do a photo tutorial on tamale assembly.  I forgot to get a photo of the finished tamales, we were too hungry and excited to try them to remember photography, so please forgive me.  You can find prepared masa harina in most Mexican grocers for a very affordable price, or you can make your own.  Masa Harina is available in the flour section of your grocery store.  Just make sure you get masa "For TAMALES" (there is a masa for tortillas and the grind/texture is different).   These tamales were meat free but feel free to fill your tamales with what ever you like.  The cheese/green chile mix was delicious and light.  I can't wait to make these again.  

Oh and Arielle, you were SO right!  Alicia's tortilleria is amazing, their tortillas are like nothing I've ever had and I wish I had quadrupled my order.  Looks like I need to go back to Santa Fe soon to replenish my supply!

makes about 16 tamales
2 lbs prepared masa harina 
corn husks, rehydrated (soak husks in hot water for 1 hour minimum before making tamales.  The longer they soak the easier they are to work with.  Rip one or 2 small husks into strips for tying the tamales) 
3/4 lb pepper jack cheese shredded
4 green chiles roasted, peeled and diced

Begin by gathering all your ingredients and prepping your workstation.  I like to lay a few paper towels down for the wet corn husks to rest on while spreading the masa.

Take a large corn husk and unfold any edges.  Place it with the long side facing you and spread about 3T masa on the husk, making a layer about 1/8 thick, thick enough so the ridges of the corn husk don't show through the masa.  Spread masa to the end of the large end, leaving about 1 inch on the sides of the husk. (the husk shown was a HUGE one, I didn't spread the masa to the ends here cause it would have been a big tamale otherwise!)

Place a small amount of cheese then green chiles in the middle of the masa.

Fold the husk over itself, so the masa ends touch each other, sealing the filling.  Gently press down to release air trapped in the tamale.  

  Fold the end up towards the open end of the tamale and wrap the sides of the husk around the tamale, tucking the end into the husk fold.  If your husk is small or rips while folding, take another husk and wrap it around your torn one and continue.  No one will ever know!

Using a small piece of husk that's been torn into strips, tie the tamale to hold it shut.

Stack tamales in a steamer for cooking.  Repeat until you're out of ingredients.

Steam tamales in a steamer for 45-60 minutes.  The masa will firm up as it steams.  Allow tamales to cool a little before removing the corn husk and enjoying!  Tamales also freeze wonderfully.  Simply freeze tamales after wrapping, before steaming them.  They will last up to 3 mo in the freezer if kept air tight.  Steam from frozen, allowing 60-75 min for cooking.


Jenn said...

I am here to say, tamale making is way harder than it looks! But the end result can be so amazing. I'm not a tamale fan, but when you can control the amount of masa used, they can be truly splendid!!

Lea Ann said...

I've never made tamales. It's on my list of things I must do. Thanks for the tutorial. And that tortilla shop sounds like a "not to miss" place. I buy them like that at a roadside stand east of Denver. So good.

Sarah said...

I love Santa Fe and what a bargain you found! Makes my mouth water just thinking about all the wonderful food you enjoyed.

anthony stemke said...

Very nice tamales.
Did you use any fat in your Ma'harina?
I've bought them from roadside stands but never made tamales at home.

Pam said...

Wow! Andrea, these had to be great! I've never had homemade tamales, much less made them. Thanks for showing us how!

Tonya said...

These look delicious! And I just told someone yesterday that I wanted to try making tamales at home. Great timing!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I gotta say....these are brilliant! I've made tamales before, but I've never made them with just cheese! You. Are. A. Genius!

Bo said...

Great tutorial! I still have tamales in the freezer from the last time I made them. They are a lot of work, but worth it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arielle here :)

SO glad you enjoyed Santa Fe and Alicia's (their tortillas really are fabulous!!!) These tamales look fabulous! Green chile cheese tamales are one of my favorites, you have my mouth watering :)

Ann Minard said...

Wow, Kudos to you Andrea, Tamales! My daughter's mother in law taught her how to make Peruvian tamales with banana leaves, this type of cooking is so exotic to me.

Anonymous said...

Your tamales look great. I like the idea of cheese and green chilies inside.

Addy said...

Andrea!! The looks are amazing and you have done a great job... cheers iPhone 5 Designs

Farmer Jo said...

Yumm!!! I have been wanting to make these for a while, but haven't gotten up the nerve. I am inspired.

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