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Oh, Tamale!

April 6, 2009

One day we will actually make our own tamales from scratch, but until we are that ambitious we will keep relying on the ones from Trader Joe’s.  Here is a quick and easy way to fancy up the frozen tamales.   We can’t wait for summer to come around so we can have these with a frozen margarita. (and yes, there is a tamale underneath all of that goodness!)


With the tamales resting on a pile of black beans, it makes a pretty filling meal.   

Black Beans and cheese

We found this great tomatillo salsa which has this amazing smokey flavor.  It is also great by itself with a big ol’ bag of tortilla chips!

Unsmothered tamale

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Serves 2


2 frozen tamales (we prefer Trader Joe’s Chicken and Cheese Tamales)

1 tbsp butter

1 small spanish onion

1 can of black beans (we prefer Goya)

2 tsps of cumin

1 tsp of olive oil

black pepper

1/4 cup of salsa verde (we love Frontera Tomatillo)

1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded

small handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped



Steam the tamales for 20-25 minutes.   While the tamales are steaming, cut the onion lengthwise, and then slice thin half circles.  Heat the butter over medium heat and add the onions.  Once the onions start to color, drop the heat down to medium-low, stir only occasionally and cook until they caramelize.  Drain one can of black beans (don’t rinse) and scoop the beans into a microwaveable bowl.  Add the olive oil and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds.  Remove the beans from the microwave and mash them against the side of the bowl with a fork.  Add the cumin and black pepper and give them a stir.  Microwave again for another 30 seconds and then mash some more.  You want them to be maybe 1/3 mashed and 2/3 whole.

Divide the beans between two dishes and sprinkle cheese on top.  Unwrap the husks from the tamales and lay them on top of the beans. Spread salsa on the tamales and smother with the caramelized onions.  Sprinkle cilantro on top and enjoy!

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