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My father LOVES tamales; probably one of his top 5 favorite foods in the world. I love cooking (duh, otherwise I wouldn't be in this topic). So, I went to a cooking class all about tamales last night, took home a few pounds of leftover masa, and wonderful timing, parents are coming for dinner on Saturday night.

Now I'm torn on what tamales to make! All of the sauces are homemade, and I've pretty well perfected my recipes (she says modestly).

1 - Pork with salsa verde/tomatillo salsa
2 - Pork with pasilla chili sauce
3- Chicken with mole
4- Chorizo, roasted poblanos & goat cheese (haven't made this before but had it in a restaurant a few weeks ago and almost swooned it was so good)

Considering that 2 tamales is probably plenty for a meal for this group, along with a salad or something light, making 4 varities is going way overboard. DH suggested I choose only 2 and I'm really struggling! Halp! :)

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  1. #2 and #3.

    And if you are making your mole from scratch, all I want to know is...

    What time and what can I bring?

    1 Reply
    1. re: DoobieWah

      Hah - DH's vote, too.

      I was inspired to try and make mole from visiting the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, UT, where DH used to live. Recipe here -

    2. #3 & #4!!! I would be happy to beef up your guest count to make it worth making more kinds:)

      1. 1 and 3. I'm sure 4 is great but for me, a superior tamale is a simple tamale, not an overabundance of strong flavors.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tcamp

          This is a great point. As much as #4 intrigues me, I do have a gut instinct that there may be one too many instruments in that concerto.

          Mole of course is anything but simple to prepare, unless you're using paste, but all that complexity reduces down to a single instrument. I also like #3 for being a more basic and traditional tamal, more what tamales should be.

        2. 3 and 4 if you leave off the goat cheese (I know its not me eating it but you're messing it up with the goat cheese) My suggestion is to sub smoked gouda, it will be perfect!

          12 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            > but you're messing it up with the goat cheese

            I'm curious why you say that. I'm only tasting it in my mind but I'm liking the idea. I can easily imagine that combination with scrambled eggs. Moving it to a tamal -- I don't see a problem.

            1. re: Soul Vole

              My opinion is that goat cheese is nasty; I can't see putting it on anything...and to mess up a delicious combination of chorizo & poblanos with it; I'd rather leave cheese out of it if there was no other choice...but that's just my opinion

              1. re: Cherylptw

                Okay, thanks, that clarifies things a lot.

                There's a big difference between expressing that you don't personally like an ingredient and wouldn't put it on anything*, and telling someone else that they're messing something up by using it.

                * Expressions of this type tend to be tedious and uninteresting to others.

                1. re: Soul Vole

                  I personally don't like it and I do think the dish would be messed up if goat cheese were included...no disrespect, but I care not if others find my post uninteresting; you can't please everyone...to each his own.

                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    To each his own was exactly my point.

                    If you think goat cheese is nasty and you wouldn't put it on anything then of course you think it would mess it up.

                    But you didn't mention your categorical rejection of goat cheese up front. That would be a nice courtesy going forward, for those who do and especially for those who don't share your opinion of goat cheese.

                    1. re: Soul Vole

                      pardon me for interrupting Soul Vole, but weren't you the one who mentioned "what a tamal should be" rather than what you expect a tamal to be?

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        I'm not sure I understand your question.

                        tcamp said that tamales should be simple, and I tend to be in agreement. Yet I'm intrigued by option #4, which runs against that. I would try it myself. I'm not sure I would like it, but I would try it.

                        Meanwhile in this subthread I'm opposing something I consider nonsensical and borderline offensive -- saying that you can't stand some particular ingredient after trying to tell someone that they're making a mistake by using it. Which has nothing to do with tamales.

            2. re: Cherylptw

              I love the idea of smoked Gouda! DH likes it when I make just peppers and cheese. I usually use fontina or pepper jack mixed with a little cream cheese to avoid a rubbery texture. Smoked Gouda would be lovely I bet. I like goat cheese but would not use it in my tamales...or would I?

              1. re: ItalianNana

                Ok, I admit I adore smoked gouda and it just goes so well with so many flavors...one, of which would in your stuffed peppers...I'm just saying....

                1. re: Cherylptw


                  I agree. I will definitely be trying the smoked Gouda with peppers in my next tamale marathon. :-) I think folks would be shocked to bite into a tamal and encounter goat cheese!

                  1. re: ItalianNana

                    I don't care for smoked gouda, but sounds interesting.

                    I would definitely warn people about the goat cheese :) The goat cheese wasn't overwhelming- it added a great tartness and smoothness to the other flavors. It sounds like too much but it really was fantastic. I may have to make a couple of these just for me one time.

                2. re: ItalianNana

                  I have had wonderful Mexican food with goat cheese - it's a very good flavor combination. I made one dish once with roasted poblanos stuffed with pork and walnuts with a goat cheese topping, if I recall it correctly. I do remember how yummy it was.

                  On the other hand, smoked gouda just sounds wrong to me for Mexican flavors...

                1. re: sandylc

                  That's what I'm thinking. I'm inclined to keep 1 because I think salsa verde is going to be the best contrast to any of the others. I like #4 because I've never had such a tamal. It sounds really intriguing.

                2. I think you have to invite more people over and make all of them.

                  1. I usually get #2, but I would not mind trying #4. Sounds delicious. When it comes to salsa verde, I prefer chicken.

                    1. 2& 3
                      P.s. tamales---I love you. I will devour you with utter gluttony

                      1. How about trying something new, maybe goat or fish? Just a thought.

                        1. Sarabz

                          What did you make? How did it go?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ItalianNana

                            I actually made the first three, and it was perfect. Three different flavors and they balanced each other quite nicely. They weren't huge tamales so three was a great serving size.

                            The favorite was the pork with the pasilla chili sauce so yesterday I made another couple of dozen of just those for the freezer. I still have pork so am going to make another batch of sauce and put more tamales in the freezer.

                            I served with a chipotle lime cole slaw (my dad who supposedly hates cabbage asked for 2 more servings of this!), and a small green salad with orange segments, jicama and a cumin lime dressing. Lots of flavors and textures and they all balanced well. I wish I had taken a photo of the plates.

                          2. I haven't made tamales in a while because they are so much work and I have no helpers available, but...I used to make one that had pieces of roasted poblanos, goat cheese and drained, chopped marinated artichoke hearts ...also, spicy tomatillo sauce.

                            They were so delicious.