Makes 18 tamales
4 large fresh pasilla peppers (may substitute poblano peppers)
2 medium russet potatoes
4 medium carrots
1/2 (1-pound) bag frozen sweet peas
2 pounds queso fresco*
3 1/2 cups masa harina (see Cook’s Notes below)
1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening at room temperature
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 to 4 cups of reserved chicken broth*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
24 dried cornhusks, soaked in boiling-hot water for 2 hours
Favorite chili sauce or salsa
For vegetable filling:
Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place under a pre-heated broiler, about 2 inches below the heat. Broil until skin blisters and is charred, turning to evenly char each pepper. Place the peppers in a bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steam in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Gently peel away the skin. Cut off the tops of the peppers, and discard the stems and the seeds. Cut peppers into strips about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide. Peel the potatoes, and place them into a bowl of cold water. Cut each potato into strips 3 inches long and 1/2-inch square. Return potato strips to the water until ready to use. Peel the carrots and cut them into strips 3 inches long by 1/2-inch square. Place the frozen peas in a sieve, and run under hot water until they turn bright green. Crumble cheese and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
For tamale dough:
Place masa harina and lard or vegetable shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until shortening is evenly distributed through the masa. Add chicken broth, a cup at a time, until mixture resembles the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Lay 1 cornhusk, concave side up, on a work surface. Place about 2 tablespoons tamale dough in an even layer across the wide end of the husk. The dough should be about 1/2 inch from the sides, 1 inch from the top and about 3 inches from the bottom. Place 2 strips pepper, 1 piece potato, 1 piece carrot, 1 teaspoon peas and 1 teaspoon cheese in the center of the dough. Bring sides up to meet, pinching dough to seal, and then roll tamale into a cylinder. Fold the bottom of the husk up and under. Set tamale seam side down on a baking sheet or large platter. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Add a few inches water to a large stockpot, and place a steamer basket inside. Place tamales in steamer, stacking no more than 2 high. Place pot over high to bring water to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low. Steam tamales for about 90 minutes, or until the tamales start to separate from the cornhusks. Serve with your favorite chili sauce or salsa.
Cook’s Notes: Masa harina (literally “dough flour”) is flour made from dried masa, which is made with sun- or fire-dried corn kernels. Masa harina may be found ethnic aisle of grocery stores, or in Latin-foods markets.
*To make this recipe Kosher, either omit the chicken broth and use vegetable broth instead, or omit the cheese completely.
(Credit: Disneyland Blog-