Total Time
45 Mins
Makes enough filling for about 3 dozen tamales (serving size: 1 tamale)

Cookbook author Marcela Valladolid showed us how to put on a tamalada--a tamale-making party--at her house near San Diego; this was one of the several tamales that day. 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.

How to Make It

Step 1

Char chiles on a gas burner or broil in the oven, turning often, until blackened all over, about 10 minutes. Put in a bowl, cover, and let steam 20 minutes.

Step 2

Using a paper towel, peel blistered skin off chiles. Stem and seed chiles, then slice into 1/2-in. strips lengthwise. Halve any pieces longer than about 3 in. Season with salt.

Step 3

Pull Oaxaca cheese apart into pieces about 1/2 in. wide and 3 in. long. If using Monterey jack, cut into 1/2- by 3-in. sticks.

Step 4

Make ahead: Up to 2 days, char and peel chiles and prep cheese; keep chilled.

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