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 freezer 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.
The pictures were taken that day and they are very rustic, lol! Enjoy!
Green Chile and Oaxaca Cheese Tamales
Prep Time-2 hours
Cook Time- 2 hours
2½ cups masa harina
2½ cups warm chicken broth
¾ cup vegetable shortening or pork manteca(lard)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
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 )
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!
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!
Roasted Poblano Salsa Recipe
4 to 5 medium red or green poblanos
4 chiles gueros
6 cloves garlic, skins on
1 small white onion, cut into quarters
4 Roma tomatoes
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
1/2 cup cilantro
1. Preheat a heavy, large skillet to medium heat for 5 minutes. Line the skillet with a piece of heavy foil paper.
2. After washing the peppers and tomatoes, transfer everything to the hot skillet. When it starts to blacken, drizzle with a little oil and turn as needed.
3. After about 15 minutes, remove the garlic and onions to a small bowl. Cover and let cool. Once the tomatoes and peppers and blackened in most spots, remove the poblanos and transfer them to a plastic bag(or covered bowl) and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and other peppers and let cool.
4. Once everything is cool, remove the skins, stems and seeds from the poblanos. Remove the stems from gueros and serranos. Also remove the skins from the garlic. Rough chop everything and transfer it to the blender. Add the lime juice, cilantro, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Pulse to blend until you chunky salsa. Taste for salt.
Note: I found red poblanos at the farmers market, so that is why the salsa looks more red, but you could certainly make it with green ones. If you cannot find chiles gueros, you can substitute with jalapenos.