Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kale And Cheese Tamales

I got this recipe from Mexican Made Easy.  I love kale, but have only a limited number of recipes for it.  I got some beautiful kale in my Front Porch Pickings basket, (oh and zucchini too) and a search of my to try file found this recipe.  I thought 4 leaves of kale seemed like too little, and my leaves weren't all huge, so I did add a bit more, however, that made for a bit extra of the filling when all the dough was filled.  The ratio seemed pretty spot on.  Making the tamales took a couple of tries to get them to work well.  I would recommend that you put your tablespoons (I used 3) about 2/3 of the way up from the pointy end, spread them with a spatula first the width of the husk and then down the length.  My first two needed some rearranging since they weren't wide enough to wrap around the filling.  I had a little kale leftover, so I cooked it in a little olive oil and vegetable broth until it was nice and soft and used it as a kind of a "garnish" for the tamales.  While the assembly of the tamales did require a bit of active prep time, it wasn't too taxing and even a little zen:).  Most important was the results!  The sauteed kale and zucchini had an almost meaty taste.  I topped the tamales with some of the sauteed kale and leftover filling and sprinkled a few drops of the Mesa Hot Sauce I made and the results were delicious!  Oh one other helpful hint, we tilted the steamer basket to it's side to make it easy to fill, and to take up the extra space in the basket, we put a coffee mug and a couple of extra corn husks to keep the tamales all in place and upright.

Kale And Cheese Tamales

3 T  butter
1/2    large white onion,chopped
1    large clove garlic,minced
1    zucchini,diced
4    leaves kale,stems removed and chopped
1/3 c  vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 c  shredded Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella cheese
2 c  masa harina
1 t  baking powder
1/4 c  vegetable shortening
2 c  vegetable broth,warm
3/4 t  kosher salt
1/2 t  freshly ground black pepper
To assemble:
24 corn husks, soaked until soft and patted dry, plus more for lining
For the filling: Melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-
high heat. Add the onion, garlic and zucchini and saute until the onion
is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the kale and saute 1 minute. Add the
vegetable broth, cover and cook until the kale is wilted, about 6
minutes. Uncover and simmer until almost all of the liquid evaporates,
about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool slightly. Season with some
salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese until melted.
For the masa: Mix the masa and baking powder in large bowl. Add the
vegetable shortening and mix using an electric mixer until it is the
consistency of coarse meal. Pour in the vegetable broth and mix until
the dough comes together (the dough should be moist). Mix in the salt
and pepper by hand.
To assemble the tamales: Place a corn husk, ridged-side down, flat on a
work surface and spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of masa onto the corn husk.
Then place a spoonful of the kale filling atop the masa. Fold the
bigger sides in, and then the pointy tip up over the tamale. Repeat
with the remaining corn husks, filling and masa.
To steam, place a coin in the bottom of a pot and fill with 1 to 2
inches of water. Make sure that the steamer basket is not immersed in
the water. Line the bottom of a steamer basket with some additional
husks and stack the tamales in the steamer, with the exposed end facing
upward. Top with more husks and cover with a moist towel. Bring the
water to a boil and cook until the masa no longer sticks to the husks,
30 to 40 minutes.
Cook's Note: The coin will rattle during cooking. If it stops rattling,
all the water has evaporated and you need to add more.


  1. I love kale too, but find it hard to find good recipes. Usually I'll just throw it in whatever I'm eating for dinner. Easy enough way to integrate it into the meal. I really love the idea of kale and tamales. Tamales are such a comfort food for me, but take WAY to long to cook (at least the way I was taught). This version is much quicker - I'll have to try these out. Thanks!

    1. We all loved them! It was my first tamale making experience. I think next time it will go faster;)