Green Chile and Cheese Tamales

Green Chile and Cheese Tamal

This delicious recipe for green chile and cheese tamales has my sister Kity’s (family nickname) name written all over it! On a trip to North Carolina a few years ago, we met at my niece Crystal’s house. I had not seen my sister in three years and it was a special trip. Special because my niece had just given birth to her first child and it was time to celebrate and cook, of course! It was a great trip spent with both my sister and my niece. We gave her many cooking tips and purchased some absolutely “must haves” for her kitchen, like a tortilla press! And I knew she would put those things to good use, since she too loves to cook. Several of my nieces have been eager to learn the family recipes and that fills my heart with such joy. I seriously begin thinking about and craving these tamales because it’s so close to peak season for roasting green chiles! I am hoping to stock up on my Hatch green chiles soon. I have extra Oaxaca cheese in the feezer just waiting. On this day of my trip, it was my sister’s turn to cook, yay! Both Crystal and I already knew we wanted some green chile and cheese tamales, no question. I did do my part and prepared the masa and the salsa’s. My sister is one of the lucky ones that can purchase fresh masa from the Mexican market where she lives in California. I don’t even know if she had ever used masa harina for a reason, but the results were very tasty! This will begin the official tamal making season for me. I can’t wait! #hottamales #mexicanfood #familyrecipes. 


La Piña en La Cocina and Sister

The pictures were taken that day and they are very rustic, lol! Enjoy!



Green Chile and Oaxaca Cheese Tamales with Salsa Verde and a Roasted Poblano Salsa

Prep Time-2 hours
Cook Time- 2 hours


For Masa
2½ cups masa harina
2½ cups warm chicken broth
¾ cup vegetable shortening or pork manteca(lard)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

For Filling
20 tomatillos
5 to 6 serrano chiles
2 cups roasted diced green chile(mild)
1 medium onion,quartered
1 cup cilantro
Salt to taste
10 to 12 ounce of Oaxaca cheese or Cacique brand mozzarella,pull apart into 15 to 18 pieces
15 to 20 corn husk for tamales
Foil paper, cut into 15 to 18 pieces(about 7 inches )

Green Chile and Cheese Tamal


1. Soak the corn husk in some hot water for 2 hours. Use a heavy bowl or pot to weigh down, set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine the masa harina, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add in the warm chicken broth and work in until dough forms. In another glass bowl, melt the shortening or manteca, then work well into the masa mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

3. In  saucepan, combine the clean tomatillos, onion, and chile serrano. Fill with enough water to cover, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Drain the water and transfer to the blender, add cilantro and 1 teaspoon of salt,blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the diced green chiles, taste for salt. Set aside.

4. Prepare a large steamer pot with water, set aside. Once everything is in place, shake of excess water from husks. Take one husk(about 5 inches across) and using the back of a spoon spread enough masa to cover the surface(not too thick). Add a strip of cheese and cover cheese with salsa verde mixture. Fold in the sides, then fold down the flap and wrap tightly with foil paper. Stand up in steamer pot with open side up. Reserve extra salsa verde to garnish cooked tamales.

5. Once all tamales are done, bring to a quick boil in steamer, then reduce heat to medium. Steam for 1 hour, checking for water every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, pull out 1 tamale and let cool slightly, if the husk pulls away easily from masa, they are done.If not, steam for another 15 minutes. Let tamales cool slightly before eating. Yields 15 to 18 large tamales. Garnish the tamales with extra salsa verde!

Green Chile and Cheese Tamal

Tips~ If you do not have a steamer, you can use a regular large pot. You want insert a plate, bowl, or metal steamer upside down into pot. The idea is to keep the tamales up and out of the water on the bottom of pot. Steam as usual. You will have to check for water every 20 minutes. Tamales and salsa are both freezer friendly!

Green Chile and Cheese Tamal

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima (Achiote Marinated Chicken)

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

I came across this recipe for Pollo al Achiote several years ago and was intrigued by the beautiful, bright red colors of the achiote. Achiote is prepared using annatto seeds combined with other spices. It does not really have a strong flavor, but yet a more subtle, earthy and smoky flavor. Since then, I have experimented with countless recipes using the annatto seeds, oil, powder and paste. I have never been disappointed with the dishes, but I have certainly learned quite a bit since then. And I continue to learn and that’s the beauty of cooking. There are so many variations, techniques and flavors yet to be discovered. I know for most, cooking soup during the month  of August is a big fat, NO! Lol! I could eat soup anytime of the year, as long as their is AC available, ha, ha! This recipe and it’s flavors was adapted from the Yucatan. The flavors of achiote, sour orange and habanero are very common in that region’s dishes. And even if you don’t exactly feel like eating the the soup part of the recipe. I really suggest you try the chicken with the achiote marinade. Prep it the day before and next day just pop it in the oven to roast  or on the grill for a short time. Here’s to getting creative in your kitchen and discovering new flavors! #foodieforlife #mexicanfood


Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

Yields 4 Servings

*This recipe requires marinating time overnight



For Chicken Stock

4 chicken legs (about 3 pounds total)
1/3 large white onion, reserve the rest
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 stalk celery
1 serrano
2 bay leaves
Handful of cilantro
1 teaspoon of peppercorns
Salt to taste


For Achiote Marinade

1 1/2 ounces achiote paste
Sour orange juice (juice of 2 oranges and 2 limes mixed)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt to taste


You Will Also Need

1 large beef steak tomato, quartered
Reserved onion from above
1 red or orange bell pepper
1 poblano
1-2  chile guero(caribe) or yellow wax pepper
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
1 cup broth(from cooking chicken)

6 limes
1/2 cup cilantro
Pepper to taste

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

If you do not live in an area where a good mix of mexican products are available, this achiote paste in readily available online. A little goes  along ways and can be used for many dishes. 



First Day, Prepare the Chicken Stock and Marinade:

Add the chicken to a large pot. Fill with 8 cups of water and remaining ingredients listed to prepare stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming off the top as needed.

While the chicken cooks, prepare achiote marinade. Add all of the ingredients to the blender. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.

Remove the cooked chicken from the broth into a storage container. Pour in the achiote marinade and toss to coat evenly. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Strain the broth, let cool on stove top. Then refrigerate overnight.

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima


Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

The original recipe calls for the chicken to be grilled instead of roasted in the oven. I can only imagine the wonderful flavors added by grilling. Next time!


Next Day: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil paper. Add the tomato, onion, bell pepper, poblano, and chile guero. Roast for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.  Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Transfer all vegetables to the blender. Add bouillon and chicken broth. Blend on high until smooth. Strain into a bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Transfer marinated chicken to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Let come to room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes. Then cook under broiler for 3-5 minutes to crisp up and brown the skin. Remove chicken from oven and cover with foil paper to keep warm.

Preheat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. Add the strained sauce and cook at a low simmer for 5 minutes. Skim off any fat from top of stock. Add  4 cups of chicken stock, juice of 4 limes and 1/2 of the cilantro. Cook for 10-15 minutes.

To plate, add one piece of chicken to a shallow bowl, ladle in the lime broth. Garnish soup with sliced limes and remaining cilantro Garnish chicken with pickled red onions(see link below). Serve with rice and warm corn tortillas.


Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

The simple ingredients will yield some of your most delicious dishes.

Roasted Poblano

Roasting in the oven is the way to go when you need them fast and for blending or rajas!

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

A good blender is a key to many, many Mexican dishes. 

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

I know it’s easy to skip the straining of the sauce, but it’s a must in my book. It makes a world of differnce. 

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

Cooking the chicken first to create this tasty homemade stock is a win, win situation. After the short roasting time, because the chicken was previously cooked, it was very moist and flavorful!


Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

Two of my favorite things when cooking mexican foods, cilantro and limes!

Pickled red Onions with Habanero

Click onto picture above to see recipe on how to prepare Pickled Red Onions right on site.

Pollo al Achiote en Caldo de Lima

Caldo Tlalpeño (Chicken and Vegetable Soup)

Caldo Tlalpeño

That moment when you realize that person, in this case my Mom, who taught you the most cherished recipes, is no longer there.  Every Sunday, I would call my parents long distance and after the initial conversation, the subject would always turn to food, only after the weather, of course, lol! I don’t recall my Mom ever preparing caldo tlalpeño for us. But, she did prepare soups that were pretty close with similar ingredients. So this was the point when I was so thankful to had learned the basics of Mexican cooking and I knew with that, I could do anything. And that is the confidence and pride that my Dad instilled on us coming through.  I still would have so many questions for both of them, but thank goodness for my siblings and extended family in Mexico, they give me input when they can. I didn’t mean to get too deep on that intro, but most times, I write as the thoughts come to me. My biggest piece of advice is, if you have kids, please make a habit of involving them in the cooking process. They will remember that forever. 


Brief History of Caldo Tlalpeño

The history of the Tlalpeno soup reads that in Mexico in the early 1900’s in the village of Tlalpan there were tram stops where food was sold. Among the sellers there was a lady who prepared her own chicken broth recipe.

This recipe started to be liked by people and they named it Tlalpan soup… with the passage of time the name derived to Tlalpeno soup.



For Stock Base
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
2 chile de arbol or 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt

You Will Also Need
4 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 serrano pepper, chopped (optional)
1 small white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1teaspoon dried epazote
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups chicken broth from cooked chicken
2 bay leaves
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chick peas (I added 2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups)

For Garnishes
1 avocado, diced
6 ounces panela cheese, diced
Cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges
Diced onion, optional

Caldo Tlalpeño


1. In a large pot, add the chicken, bay leaves, peppercorns, red pepper flakes (or chile de arbol), and salt. Cover with 6 cups water and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for a good 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the chicken and strain the broth, set aside.

2. In the blender, combine the roma tomatoes, water,chipotles, serrano (if using), onion, garlic, epazote, oregano, 1 cup water, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, taste for salt, set aside.

3. In a large pot, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium/high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato mixture from blender, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, stir well to combine, taste for salt. Remove all the meat from chicken thighs and add it it to the soup.

4. Add carrots, green beans, chick peas and bay leaves to the pot. Cook just until carrots soften then add the zucchini and cook for another 15 minutes, taste for salt. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with avocado, panela cheese, cilantro, lime and diced onion if using. Serve with warm corn tortillas or tostadas. Yields up to 6 hearty servings.


Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.

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