Chili Cheese Tamales

This recipe earns the Whole Foods Market Cookbook its first EPIC FAIL.  The proportions given for masa dough in this recipe will give you a big bowl of corn flour soup.  I have decided the amount of masa harina (corn flour) must have a typo in it – the recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but 1 1/2 cups is the amount that actually makes sense.  I’m not going to post the recipe until I’ve made this successfully – I don’t really see the point.  (Basically, though, masa for tamales is masa harina, fat, and just enough water to make it come together.

The Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa that goes into the tamales was pretty tasty.  I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with salsa verde, but the poblanos and chipotles gave this one a nice depth.

  • 6-8 tomatillos, husks removed & rinsed
  • 2 poblanos, seeded
  • 1/2 red onion (or 1 small one)
  • 1 chipotle from a can (in adobo)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • salt

Pulse in food processor until finely chopped (do not puree).  Let stand at room temperature for filling tamales, or keep in fridge until ready to serve.

I wanted some protein in this meal and I had a chicken breast left over from making stock earlier in the week, so I cut the chicken into thin strips, cut a yello onion into half-rings, and sauteed them together with olive oil, chili powder, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.

To prep the tamales, soak the corn husks in warm water for at least 30 minutes.  (Put something on top of them to keep them submerged.)  Then fill with masa, chicken, salsa, and monterrey jack cheese, wrap and close however you can.  I’m sure there’s an authentic way to fold these so they stay shut, but I found it easiest to tie them closed with a strip of corn husk from an extra one I’d soaked.  They wound up looking more like Christmas crackers than tamales, but oh well.

Steam for about an hour.


My masa wound up pretty mushy due to the mixup in proportions (see first paragraph), but the flavors were pretty dead-on.  (The mound of chicken in the picture next to the tamales is extra filling I served on the side.)  I’d make this again in a heartbeat, this time with a better masa dough recipe.

No Dylan Report for these – the recipe only made 5 tamales and we ate them all.  Sorry, kiddo!


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