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Spicy Chorizo & Sweet Corn Tamales

by FarmgirlGourmet

If you’ve never made tamales because you are fearful of the little packets of love, then wipe that thought from your mind right now!  Aside from the process of packaging 20 or more of them, it’s really not that bad.  You will need a little forethought in that the corn husks will need to steep for an hour before they can be used, but after that you can have them all wrapped and steaming away in about an hour.  So are you ready to give them a shot?  I promise you won’t be disappointed!


Start off by sorting through the corn husks and removing any dried corn silks.  You may also find that some of the inner husks are slightly moldy, so chuck those.  Always make more than you think you’ll need.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the corn husks.  Weight them down with a heavy baking dish so that they are completely submerged.  Soak them for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the water and place in a bowl.
Spray your frying pan with cooking spray and add the chorizo -make sure you remove the plastic casing.  Plastic casing tamales?  No Bueno!

Add half of a yellow onion that’s been diced and a whole diced red pepper.  Saute until the onions and peppers are soft and the chorizo is cooked through.  Add 1 cup of corn kernals (fresh or frozen), 3 minced garlic cloves, 3 teaspoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Give it all a good stir and turn off the heat.  Set aside to cool while you make the masa.

To make the masa dough you will first whip up 2/3 of a cup of vegetable shortening in a bowl with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy.  Add 4 cups of masa harina (found in the ethnic aisle and most supermarkets) and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Mix together until it looks like lumpy meal.  Add 3 cups of chicken stock or broth and 1/3 cup melted vegetable shortening.  Whip until light and fluffy.  
Add your spicy chorizo mixture and give it all a good stir to incorporate.
Add 1/4 cup of tamale filling to your corn husk. Fold your short side over the filling and then fold the fat long end and then the narrow end over the top of that.  Flip it over as shown in the next photo.
Using kitchen twine, you’re going to wrap and tie as if you were wrapping a present.  
Like this.  
Place your Tamales in a steamer or as I have done here, in a pasta pot that been set over 2 inches of water.  You don’t want the water to touch the tamales, only the steam.   Steam the tamales for 2 hours adding more water to the pot as needed so that it doesn’t dry out.
Serve with your favorite tamale toppings.  We had guacamole, sour cream and homemade salsa.

Spicy Chorizo & Sweet Corn Tamales
{Printable Recipe}

1 package of dried corn husks
Cooking spray
1 lb chorizo
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 c fresh or frozen sweet corn
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt

2/3 c vegetable shortening PLUS 1/3 c melted shortening
4 c masa harina
1 tsp salt
3 c chicken stock

Kitchen twine

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Separate the dried corn husks and remove any silks.  Add the husks to the boiling water and wait down with a heavy baking dish.  Turn off the heat and steep the husks for 30 to 60 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add the chorizo and break it up with a wooden spoon.  Add the onion and red pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables are translucent and soft.  Add the corn, garlic and spices and stir to incorporate.  Remove from the heat and let cool.
3) In a mixing bowl, using the whisk attachment to your mixer, whisk the 2/3 c shortening until light and fluffy.  Add the masa harina and continue to whisk until it looks like lumpy meal.  Add the chicken stock and 1/3 cup melted shortening and continue to mix until the dough comes together and is light and fluffy.
4) Add the chorizo mixture to the masa dough and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate.
5) Place one corn husk on a cutting board and place 1/4 c filling in the center.  Fold over the short sides, then the fat long end followed by the narrow long end and flip over.  Make sure your folding is tight but not too tight as the filling with squeeze out during steaming.  Using kitchen twine tie the tamale like a present.  Place in a steaming basket set over 2 inches of just simmering water.  Continue with remaining filling until all used.  Put a lid on the steamer and steam the tamales for 2 hours.  Remove to a plate, cut the string and serve with your favorite garnishes.


Mike Chavez May 5, 2011 - 11:15 am

For a slightly creative touch… strip a few husks into long narrow strips and use those to tie the finished tamale instead of kitchen twine. (My grandma did that when I was a kid.)

For Christmas, color the strips red or green with food coloring and replace the twine after you have steamed the tamales. (food coloring will run in steamer.) Makes them kinda festive! 🙂

Anonymous May 5, 2011 - 10:53 am

Thank you for the recipe!

Samuel Waltner March 15, 2011 - 10:07 pm

Great Pictures. I love food recipes where I can see steps of what it is supposed to look like.

Great blog. I am now going to take a stab at tamales.

Thanks again.

Anonymous March 15, 2011 - 9:32 pm

Looks amazing – never tried tamales before. Will let you know how it goes 🙂

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