Spice up the Holidays with this Easy Tamales Recipe

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Nothing brings together family and friends more than food right? In my family, tamales are a definite must when it comes to feeding a large family like ours, especially during the holidays. Today I'm sharing a twist on one of my grandma's classic tamales recipes. Don't tell her, but it's kind of a short cut. She always disapproves when I tweak her recipes and will never admit how much she likes it, even if she has seconds. Don't you just love abuelas? Okay, back to these delicious tamales. 

First of all, I'm going to admit it right now. I didn't use fresh chiles. Instead, I bought La Morena® Sliced Jalapeños. For me, I have a limit and too spicy is a real thing for me, La Morena® peppers are high quality and not over powering. They're perfect for me to cook with it.

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To make these easy, delicious tamales. You will need everything you see right here. 

This recipe yields a dozen small-medium tamales. 

  • La Morena® Sliced Jalapeños - 28 oz can (sliced into thin strips)
  • 12 corn husks
  • 3 lbs masa preparada (this will be more than enough)
  • 1 lb queso (any melty cheese works, sliced into strips or shredded)
  • Shredded chicken (roughly 2 cups)

A few tips:

  • If you can't find masa preparada, you can always add chicken stock and lard to plain masa until you reach the consistency of a spreadable brownie batter.
  • Also, make sure to soak the corn husks that you will be using, plus a few extra in water. After they've soaked a bit and become more flexible, you can pat dry them and remove most of the moisture from them. 

Here's how you assemble your tamales.

Hold the husk open spread out in your palm. With the other hand, spoon the masa onto the husk and spread in the middle, avoiding the edges. Spread it thick or thin, it all depends how much masa you like in your tamale, and if the husk is big enough to hold it together.

Next, add your filling of choice. I layered, some shredded chicken, cheese and La Morena® Sliced Jalapeños.

To close, all you need to do is fold one side over, then the other and fold the bottoms up. Depending on how heavy they are, you can shred another husk and use the the strips to tie a wrap around it to help it stay closed. 

Lastly, place a steamer on the bottom of a large pot and fill with water, up to the steamer. Place your tamales, fold facing out, grouped together, standing up in the pot. This is where it can get tricky, make sure to keep an area open so you can add extra water. Keep the tamales standing up, with the pot covered tightly while over medium-high heat. You will need to periodically check the water level and add more when needed, just be careful to not pour water on the tamales. 

The tamales should take about an hour to cook, but the only way to know for sure is to keep checking the consistency of the masa. You can do this by opening one up a bit and poking at the masa to see if it's cooked through. If not, add more water and close the lid on the pot and wait. Tamales require patience, that's for sure. But it's worth it in the end when you get to enjoy homemade tamales. 

Now the question is, what will you have with it? I like a little bit of salsa and some crema to balance out the spice. 

I like using La Morena® chiles and peppers when I cook, the flavor is always authentic and just right. And, I like that I can find them at my local Food 4 Less. There are a lot of options out there, but I'm telling you, La Morena® is my go-to.

Will you try this recipe for the upcoming holidays? I'd love to hear what delicious dishes you have planned? Will you be adding La Morena® for some authentic spice and flavor?