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Baked Christmas Tamales

  • Prep 50 min
  • Total 1 hr 40 min
  • Ingredients 24
  • Servings 8

Ingredients

For the filling:

1/3
cup vegetable oil
1/2
cup white onion, diced
2
garlic cloves, chopped
1/2
cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2
teaspoon ground cumin
1
can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1
cooked chicken, shredded
2
tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1
tablespoon mustard
Salt and pepper
1/3
cup raisins
1/3
cup sliced olives
2
tablespoons capers
1/2
cup cilantro or parsley

For the dough:

1 1/2
cup milk
1
tablespoon vinegar
2
beaten eggs
1 1/4
cup masa harina (tortilla flour), preferably tamale mix
1/2
cup flour
1
tablespoon baking powder
1
teaspoon salt
1/4
melted butter
1/4
cup grated cheese, a dry cheese is best (optional)
1/4
cup chopped butter (optional)

Nutrition Information

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Serving Size: 1 Serving
% Daily Value
% Daily Value*:
Exchanges:
Free
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
No nutrition information available for this recipe

Expert Tips

Try using one tablespoon of annatto seeds dissolved in water to give a festive red tint to the dough.

Christmas dinner in Central America has much in common with other Latin American countries, especially its love for all kinds of tamales. A few that come to mind are the famous Venezuelan hallacas, nacatamales from Nicaragua, and Peruvian tamales, among many others. I've prepared this no-fuss recipe for baked tamales especially for you all; they're easy to make, simply delicioso and offer plenty for everyone. In this version, I've used my sister Belinda's favorite filling alongside a pudding-like tamale dough (masa) that turns out wonderfully. In a typical Nicaraguan Christmas dinner, tradition calls for serving these tamales with a variety of breads, so make sure to have various types of rolls on hand. A light, fresh salad also makes a good accompaniment for this succulent dish. To simplify your holiday preparations, try making the tamale filling the day before so your last-minute preparation will only consist of layering and baking the dish. 'Masa harina' is a special flour used for making tortillas, but it's also available specifically for tamales. This particular blend comes already seasoned, but any other will also give you spectacular results. Of course, depending on where you are, you can add local ingredients from your country to customize this dish for your Christmas dinner. Why not try seasoning the tamale dough with Salvadorean recaudo? This sabroso mix of seasonings will completely change the character of these tamales and will give them a unique flavor. With all the time you've saved by not wrapping dozens of tamales, you can serve yourself a lovely glass of wine and put your feet up before dinner starts. Don’t forget a few slices of cucumber for the eyes and a honey mask for the face–relax for a bit and you’ll look radiant when your guests arrive!

For a spicier version, add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the filling. In Nicaragua a tiny, juicy and very spicy chile called chile congo (or chile piquín) is used to add spice. If you can find it, select the ripest red chillies available.

You can replace the chicken with cooked pork, shredded beef or a combination of meats–what’s important is that the filling has plenty of sabor.

Directions

  • 1 For the filling: Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper and cumin, and sauté until the mixture has almost caramelized. When ready, add the tomatoes and mix well.
  • 2 Stir in the chicken and continue cooking for five minutes before adding the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper (to taste). Then add the raisins, olives and capers; before turning off the heat, stir in the cilantro and transfer to a glass baking dish (round or rectangular.)
  • 3 For the dough: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • 4 In a bowl, combine the milk and vinegar; let sit for a few minutes before adding the beaten eggs.
  • 5 Place the masa harina, flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and pour the milk mixture on top. Mix well, then incorporate the melted butter. Sample the mixture and adjust the seasoning as necessary with salt or pepper to taste.
  • 6 Layer the dough over the filling and bake for 30 minutes.
  • 7 Right before removing, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top along with some chopped butter (optional.) Bake for 10 more minutes or until the surface has turned golden-brown and is bubbling.
  • 8 Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes to let the tamales set before serving.

Christmas dinner in Central America has much in common with other Latin American countries, especially its love for all kinds of tamales. A few that come to mind are the famous Venezuelan hallacas, nacatamales from Nicaragua, and Peruvian tamales, among many others. I've prepared this no-fuss recipe for baked tamales especially for you all; they're easy to make, simply delicioso and offer plenty for everyone. In this version, I've used my sister Belinda's favorite filling alongside a pudding-like tamale dough (masa) that turns out wonderfully. In a typical Nicaraguan Christmas dinner, tradition calls for serving these tamales with a variety of breads, so make sure to have various types of rolls on hand. A light, fresh salad also makes a good accompaniment for this succulent dish. To simplify your holiday preparations, try making the tamale filling the day before so your last-minute preparation will only consist of layering and baking the dish. 'Masa harina' is a special flour used for making tortillas, but it's also available specifically for tamales. This particular blend comes already seasoned, but any other will also give you spectacular results. Of course, depending on where you are, you can add local ingredients from your country to customize this dish for your Christmas dinner. Why not try seasoning the tamale dough with Salvadorean recaudo? This sabroso mix of seasonings will completely change the character of these tamales and will give them a unique flavor. With all the time you've saved by not wrapping dozens of tamales, you can serve yourself a lovely glass of wine and put your feet up before dinner starts. Don’t forget a few slices of cucumber for the eyes and a honey mask for the face–relax for a bit and you’ll look radiant when your guests arrive!

Rate and Comment

Morena Cuadra Morena Cuadra
September 24, 2015

Christmas dinner in Central America has much in common with other Latin American countries, especially its love for all kinds of tamales. A few that come to mind are the famous Venezuelan hallacas, nacatamales from Nicaragua, and Peruvian tamales, among many others. I've prepared this no-fuss recipe for baked tamales especially for you all; they're easy to make, simply delicioso and offer plenty for everyone. In this version, I've used my sister Belinda's favorite filling alongside a pudding-like tamale dough (masa) that turns out wonderfully. In a typical Nicaraguan Christmas dinner, tradition calls for serving these tamales with a variety of breads, so make sure to have various types of rolls on hand. A light, fresh salad also makes a good accompaniment for this succulent dish. To simplify your holiday preparations, try making the tamale filling the day before so your last-minute preparation will only consist of layering and baking the dish. 'Masa harina' is a special flour used for making tortillas, but it's also available specifically for tamales. This particular blend comes already seasoned, but any other will also give you spectacular results. Of course, depending on where you are, you can add local ingredients from your country to customize this dish for your Christmas dinner. Why not try seasoning the tamale dough with Salvadorean recaudo? This sabroso mix of seasonings will completely change the character of these tamales and will give them a unique flavor. With all the time you've saved by not wrapping dozens of tamales, you can serve yourself a lovely glass of wine and put your feet up before dinner starts. Don’t forget a few slices of cucumber for the eyes and a honey mask for the face–relax for a bit and you’ll look radiant when your guests arrive!