My friend Jamie shared this traditional Mexican tamale recipe with me. I made a smaller batch and used a vegetarian filling. It was a great hit with my family on our Christmas dinner!
Makes about 24 medium tamales.
- 25-26 corn husks
- 12 oz (330 g) vegetarian sausage, crumbled
- 1 jalapeno pepper, roasted
- 1 small onion
- 1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Red Chile Salsa:
- 12 California dried chili peppers (about one 3-oz bag), de-stemmed and broken up
- 6 tomatillos, roasted, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp Mexican seasoning (or use chili powder and oregano to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 c water, or to barely cover
- 1 lb masa harina
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp tsp baking powder
- 3/4 c (1.5 sticks) cold salted butter
- 1 c veggie broth
- Place corn husks in 1 or 2 large bowls or pots.
- Cover with warm water and allow to soak one hour or more.
- Drain and lay flat on toweling. Pat dry.
- Break up the patties into crumbles and place them in a large food processor (or mix by hand).
- Chop jalapeno, onion, and tomatillos. Add to processor along with the shredded cheese.
- Process until finely chopped and cohesive. Set side.
Red Chile Salsa
- Place the dried chilies, tomatillos, garlic, onion, Mexican seasoning, salt, and water in a large saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes, or until the chilies are tender.
- Cool briefly. Place in blender and process until you have a fairly smooth sauce. Set aside.
- Place the masa harina, cumin, salt and baking powder in a stand mixer bowl with a dough hook. (This may also be done by hand.) Whisk together.
- Cut in butter, beating on medium low, until well-distributed.
- Add the vegetable broth and half of the red chile salsa (reserving the rest to serve with the tamales). Continue beating until the texture is smooth and soft, adding a bit of water if too dry.
Assembly and Steaming:
- Tear 1-2 of the corn husks into thin strips to tie the tamales.
- Arrange your work station with corn husks, masa mixture, and filling.
- Place a corn husk on your work surface with wide end towards you. Spread thin layer of masa mixture on middle third of the husk from the bottom edge to 2-inches from the top.
- Add two tablespoons filling in a strip down the center of the masa.
- Fold left side of husk over filling. Fold right side over as well. Fold top of husk down.
- Use a thin strip of corn husk to tie the tamale together. Set it on a tray; repeat process until all the tamales are assembled. (At this point, tamales may be covered and refrigerated overnight for steaming the next day.)
- Set up large steamer with 1-inch water in bottom. Bring to boil on medium.
- Arrange as many tamales on steamer tray as fit comfortably. (You may need to do 2-3 batches.) Place tray in steamer. Cover tightly.
- Reduce heat to medium low and steam one hour, checking on water level midway. Repeat with remaining tamales.
- Serve hot with the remaining red chile salsa and/or sauce of choice. Carefully wrap and refrigerate/freeze leftover tamales. Re-steam until hot before serving.