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New Mexico True Recipes: Teresa's Tamales

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Published on Dec 9, 2015

People travel to Cleveland, New Mexico from hundreds of miles away in search of one thing: Teresa's tamales. A native New Mexican, Theresa Olivas learned how to make her family's traditional Christmas dish 36 years ago. Now she runs a restaurant in a converted gas station, satisfying her hometown with this irresistible New Mexican classic. Here, she shows us how to make her special green chile chicken tamales at home.

RECIPE: Teresa’s Green Chile Chicken Tamales




2 ½ lbs boneless chicken breast
6 cups masa (cornmeal flour)
3 dozen hojas (cornhusks)
1 ½ cup green chile, roasted, peeled, and chopped
1 ½ tsp of oil
¼ cup of flour
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp salt




Chicken: Boil chicken in large stockpot with 4 cups of water (water should fully cover chicken) for 1 hour or until cooked. Once chicken is cooked, shred into small threads.




Hojas: Boil hojas in hot water until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove hojas from water and drain excess water. Take 5 hojas and tear into thin strips for tamale ties about 1 cm thick.




Green Chile: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add flour. Stir for 1 minute or until oil and flour are completely mixed together. Stir in 4 cups water and green chiles. Lower heat and stir in 1 tsp of garlic and 1 tsp of salt. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add green chile sauce into shredded chicken and mix together.




Masa: Mix together masa, 1 tsp salt and 3 cups of water. Add more water as needed to reach a dough-like consistency.




Assemble tamales: Fan out full cornhusk, then spread a thin layer of masa on the hoja. Add desired amount of green chile/chicken mixture in. Roll hoja closed and tie ends with hoja strips.




Add tamales in a steamer or a large stockpot with a vegetable steamer in the bottom of the pot with an inch of water for one hour. Water should not touch tamales.

Serve topped with leftover green chile/chicken mixture and optional cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream.




Yields about 2-3 dozen tamales

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