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These tamales are one of our family favorites. Making tamales is a Christmas eve tradition that we started many years ago when I saw a tamale recipe in the magazine “Arizona Highways” sometime around 1994. Sometimes the corn husks can be hard to find, so when I find them I stock up a bit.

4 guajillo chiles
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp salt
2 cups cooked and drained black beans (cook in vegetable broth for extra flavor)
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb queso anejo (aged Mexican cheese)
Cooked Tomatillo Salsa
Dried corn husks (soaked to soften)


  1. Discard stems and seeds from chiles. Soak chiles in hot water until softened, about 1 hour. Drain off all but 1/2 cup water and puree with garlic and salt.
  2. Mash together beans, lime juice, and cilantro in a bowl. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add mashed beans and pureed chiles, and cook, stirring several times, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. To make tamales, spread some masa on a corn husk. Spread a layer of bean past down the middle of the masa, and place a strip of queso anejo on top. Roll bean and cheese into the middle of the tamale, wrap and tie with corn husk strip or twine.
  4. Place tamales upright in a steamer lined with some corn husks. Steam until masa is firm and separates easily from husks, about 1 hour. Serve with crema and tomatillo salsa.

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