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7 Tasty Tamale Party Recipes

Chef Marcela Valladolid shares her easy method for tamales—and the makings of a festive tamalada

Margo True
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Basic Tamale Method

These small, fluffy tamales are less doughy than average, so you get plenty of filling in every bite. Use any leftover filling in tacos or eggs, and extra masa for sopes (crunchy fried bites; for a recipe, go to real-estate-japan.info/sopes).

Recipe: Basic Tamale Method

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Roasted Poblano Chile and Cheese Tamales

Charring the chiles over a gas flame, rather than a broiler, roasts just the skin, leaving the chile underneath fresh-tasting. Buy Oaxaca cheese from Latino markets in sticks or as strings woven into a ball, to unfold. Taste some before buying—the fresher and more buttery, the better.

Recipe: Roasted Poblano Chile and Cheese Tamales

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Chicken and Green Tomatillo Tamales

The tang of green tomatillos goes exceptionally well with chicken. Use fewer jalapeños and/or seed them if you want a mild filling.

Recipe: Chicken and Green Tomatillo Tamales

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Pork and Red Chile Tamales

Dried guajillo chiles have a rich, fruity flavor and mild heat. Look for chiles as supple as soft leather—they are fresher and better-tasting than dried-out crackly ones.

Recipe: Pork and Red Chile Tamales

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Warm Tequila Punch

This fruity punch works for any holiday party. Cookbook author Marcela Valladolid and her aunts sip this as they make tamales—along with straight nips of Valladolid’s own añejo (aged) tequila, Hacienda de la Flor, which she makes with her brother Antonio. This recipe is adapted from one in Valladolid’s cookbook Mexican Made Easy (Clarkson Potter, 2011).

Recipe: Warm Tequila Punch

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Rice with Tomato and Onion (Arroz Rojo)

Marcela Valladolid serves this simple rice with tamales, and it’s delicious with grilled meats and stews, too. If you’re used to making rice in a pot, you’ll be intrigued by this frying-pan method. We’ve adapted her recipe in Mexican Made Easy (Clarkson Potter, 2011).

Recipe: Rice with Tomato and Onion (Arroz Rojo)

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Brothy Pinto Beans (Frijoles de la Olla)

Simple and nourishing, these beans (frijoles) are served straight from the pot (olla) to the plate, says Marcela Valladolid. She loves them lifted out of their broth and into a warm tortilla too, with a drizzle of Mexican crema or sour cream. This recipe is based on one in her first book, Fresh Mexico (Clarkson Potter, 2009).

Recipe: Brothy Pinto Beans (Frijoles de la Olla)

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