Tamales de Rajas con Queso

Try these classic tamales from central Mexico – they’re filled with charred poblano peppers and melted Oaxaca cheese. Make a double (or even triple!) batch and freeze the extra steamed tamales to enjoy later for a quick version of this authentic dish. 
1hr 30m

Servings: 12



  • 1 Mix masa harina and hot water in large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Place lard, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and baking powder in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add masa mixture, beating on low speed, until well blended. Gradually stir in chicken stock. Beat 1 minute longer, until mixture sticks together and will hold shape when scooped. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Beat batter, adding addition stock as needed, until original consistency before refrigerating is reached.
  • 2 Soak corn husks in hot water at least 30 minutes, until soft and pliable. Drain. Tear two of the corn husks lengthwise into 6 thin strips each to use as ties.
  • 3 For the tamale filling, roast poblanos over an open flame, or grill until skin is evenly charred all over. Place peppers in large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 10 minutes. Using a paper towel, rub peppers to remove charred skin. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and discard seeds and ribs. Cut into thin strips.
  • 4 Heat oil in large skillet. Add poblanos, onion, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are lightly browned and softened. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add crema, cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Oaxca cheese.
  • 5 To assemble each tamale, spread 3 tablespoons masa dough into 4 1/2 x 4-inch rectangle at the wide end of husk. Top with 2 teaspoons Oaxaca cheese. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the poblano filling over the shredded cheese. Bring long sides of husk up to enclose filling with masa. Roll husk around tamale. (Do not roll husk into masa.) Fold up the narrow end of the husk, keeping the top end of the tamale open. Tie tamale with husk strip.
  • 6 Pour about 1 to 2 inches of water into large pot. Bring to boil. Stand tamales with open ends up in steamer basket, making sure basket is not touching water. Cover tamales with kitchen towel. Cover pot with lid. Steam on medium heat 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until husk peels away easily from tamale and masa is slightly firm. (Add additional water to pot as needed to maintain steam) (Tamales will continue to firm up when removed from heat.)

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