I know for most, tamales are just prepared at Christmas time. But, for me, I crave tamales year round. I crave them more when the fall season arrives and the thought of tamales steaming on the stove top is all I can think about. Late last year, I experimented with using fresh corn in my sweet tamale dough. I really liked the results! For this recipe, I decided to make it savory instead of sweet. My favorite cheese varieties to use for these tamales are Oaxaca, fresco, manchego, mozzarella or muenster cheese. Recently I met a nice lady who was from Arizona, originally. One thing led to another, and soon we were talking about fresh corn tamales. She stated how she missed eating tamales since she moved to New York. Before she could say much more, I offered to prepare a small batch for her. She was so excited! And I was more than happy to be able to share some tamales with her. #shareyourfoods #payitforward #mexicantamales
Yields up to 8-10 servings
Masa for the Tamales:
2 cups fresh corn, right off the cob
3½ cups masa harina
1 tablespoon chile ancho powder
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups warm chicken broth
¾ cup vegetable shortening or pork manteca (lard), melted
6 roasted green chiles(Anaheim or Hatch) and 6 large pickled jalapeño
8 ounces Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
8 ounces Manchego cheese
You Will Also Need:
40 to 45 corn husk for tamales (better to have too many than not enough)
Foil paper or deli paper sheets
Directions: Preparing the Masa, Filling and Husk
1. Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from ear of corn. Process until coarsely chopped. If you like it a little smoother, you can process a little longer, set aside.
2. Combine masa harina, chile ancho powder, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Gradually add warm chicken broth and using your hand, work into a soft dough.
3. In another glass bowl, melt the shortening or manteca in the microwave for a minute or so. Add the shortening and the reserved corn to the masa and work with hands until mixed well. If masa seems too thick add a little more chicken broth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. While the masa chills, add the corn husk to a large pot or storage container. Cover completely with really hot water. Use a heavy bowl to weigh down the husk to make sure they stay immersed in the water. Let them soak for a good hour, rotating them halfway through soaking time.
5. Slice the cheese (both kinds) into 2 inch x 1/4 inch strips, set aside. Remove the stems and seeds from the green chiles and jalapeños and slice peppers into equal size strips, set aside.
Tips~I have used both white and yellow corn to prepare these tamales. I do prefer the yellow corn. It tends to be a little sweeter. I use deli paper sheets or foil paper to wrap my cheese filled tamales over the corn husk. Helps keep there shape and keeps cheese from leaking out.
Assembling and Cooking Tamales
1.. When ready, take a few of the husks at a time, shake off excess water, if they are more than 4 inches wide, just tear off the side a little.
2. Place the corn husk, smooth side up, in the palm of your hand with the wide side closest to you. With a spoon, spread about 3 to 4 tablespoons of masa all over the bottom half of husk.
3. Add a strip of each kind of cheese and 1-2 strips of green chile and jalapeño lengthwise down the center of the tamale. On occasion, I will add 1 tablespoon of tomatillo salsa down the center. Fold one side in first, then the other side (it should overlap a little on the first fold). Fold down the top down and lay tamale seam side down until ready to cook. Wrap each tamal in deli paper. Repeat until all done.
4. Prepare regular large pot to steam tamales, take a metal steamer that expands out, place it in pot. Fill bottom of pot with about 6 cups of water. If using a large steamer pot with an insert, it takes about 12 cups of water to fill.
5. Arrange all of your tamales standing up (open side up) around the metal steamer. Insert a smaller, heat-proof bowl in the center of pot to keep the tamales upright.
6. Cover with foil paper, add lid, turn heat to high to get a quick boil going. Reduce heat and steam tamales for 1hour and 20-30 minutes. Set the timer for 45 minutes at which time you will add another 2 cups of hot water to the pot. Continue steaming for another 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let them sit, covered, until ready to serve. As they cool, they will become more firm. Serve with your favorite salsas and toppings for garnish.
This makes a big batch, but the tamales freeze well. Just make sure they cool completely before storing in freezer bag. I bundle only 6 tamales per bunch. It Makes for easy defrosting.
I remove all of the deli paper after steaming the tamales before sharing them with friends.
My Salsa’s of choice below are Tomatillo with Chile de Arbol and Cilantro and Tomato Guajillo Salsa. Find the links below. The middle tamal is simply topped with a little Mexican crema and cotija cheese.
Click onto picture above to see full recipe for Tomato Guajillo Salsa on site.
Click onto picture above to see full recipe for Tomatillo Salsa with Chile de Arbol on site.