By Calli Plenert
It can often be difficult to find vegetarian options while traveling. In Santa Fe, tamales are a commonly eaten dish that often include pork filling. These blue corn tamales with squash filling allow those who prefer to eat their veggies to enjoy the delicious flavors of tamales, while still sticking to a vegetarian diet. The typical pork filling is substituted for a yellow squash filling mixed with corn, onion, cheese and chilies. This recipe is easy to follow and perfect for people who are looking to bring the bright flavors of Santa Fe cuisine into their own kitchens, all while remaining vegetarian. The recipe makes about 12 tamales.
During out Santa Fe Culinary Tour, we spend some time at the Santa Fe School of Cooking learning how to make these and other delicious tamales.
Recipe for Blue Corn Tamales with Squash Filling
Blue Corn Masa:
1 1/2 cup masa harina, ground fine enough for tamales
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup and 1 teaspoon lard or vegetable shortening
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm chicken stock or water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green chilies
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
3 ounce dried corn husks, either soaked in warm water overnight or in boiling water for one hour
1 zucchini finely chopped
1 yellow squash finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions for the Masa:
Into a bowl, put the masa harina, blue cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Then whisk to combine.
Place the lard into an electric mixer and whisk until the lard has a light and fluffy texture.
While still beating the lard on a slow setting, add the dry ingredients by spoonful.
Slowly add the broth or water to the mixture. Then turn the mixer to a high speed and beat for 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture has a light texture.
Instructions for the Filling:
In a skillet on medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and stir for 1 minute until cooked.
Add the zucchini, yellow squash and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Then add the corn, green chili and oregano to the mixture.
Remove the pan from the heat and place the mixture into a bowl to cool for around 10 minutes.
Lastly, stir in cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
Assembly and Steaming of Tamales:
Soak 16 corn husks until they’re pliable (about 1-2 hours).
Over roughly two-thirds of the corn husks, spread the squash filling and fold lengthwise until the masa on both sides is touching. Roll the husk tightly and fold in the ends. Repeat with the rest of the corn husks.
Places tamales in a steamer and cover for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
Allow the tamales to rest for a few minutes before unwrapping the corn husks and serving the tamales.
If that sounds delicious, there’s more where that came from! Join us for our Santa Fe Culinary Tour.
About Calli Plenert
Calli has always had a passion for travel, art and the outdoors. It has always been her goal to travel the world. In pursuit of making her dream come true, she is currently attending the University of Washington where she’s studying International Studies, International Communications and Spanish. She enjoys writing about travel and hope that some day she can use her abilities in art and writing to support a wanderlust lifestyle.