You’ll love this combination of roasted green chiles and luscious rich cheese. It’s amazing that all it takes is a great cheese and a great salsa to make a terrific tamale. This recipe can be split up by preparing the stuffing a day in advance.
Makes 12 to 16 tamales
1 pound ground masa for tamales
1/2 pound lard, clarified butter or vegetable shortening
4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded*
1/3 cup Tomatillo Salsa, see recipe
1 cup chicken stock, cold or at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons salt
Place the masa and lard or other shortening in separate containers in the freezer for 30 to 40 minutes, until cold but not frozen.
Combine the roasted poblanos and tomatillo salsa in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth and set aside. Mix together the chicken stock, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
When the masa is cold enough, empty into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with a paddle. Beat on medium speed until the masa is light in texture, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium-high and drizzle in the chicken stock mixture.
Remove the lard or other fat from the freezer. Turn the mixer speed up to high, add 1 tablespoon of the fat at a time, making sure each spoonful is incorporated before making the next addition. Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 15 minutes total. Test for lightness by dropping 1 tablespoon of masa into cold water: If it floats, the mixture is light enough. If not, continue beating at high speed a few minutes longer. Add the pureed chile mixture to the masa, and mix well to combine. Reserve at room temperature.
8 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced*
1/2 cup Tomatillo Salsa, plus extra for serving
1 teaspoon salt
3 packages dried corn husks, separated and soaked in hot water at least 2 hours or overnight
1 1/2 pounds panela cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
To make the stuffing, mix together the poblanos, 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa, and salt.
To make the tamales, spread 1 large or 2 small softened corn husks on a counter, with the narrow end pointing away from you. Leaving about 2 inches bare at the top, spread a 1/2-inch layer of masa over the center and one side of the husk. Divide the poblano mixture evenly and sprinkle over the portion of masa in the center of the husk. Top the chiles with some of the cubed cheese.
Fold the side covered with masa over the chiles and cheese, and then fold over the other side to enclose. Fold down the top flap. Place the folded tamale on a large square of aluminum foil and wrap to enclose. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Line a steamer or a pot fitted with a rack with corn husks. Cook over simmering water 45 minutes, or until the corn husks can be pulled away from the masa without sticking. Serve hot with Tomatillo Salsa.