Chef Dana Rodriguez Shares Her Story (and Tamales)

We were honored to host Chef Dana Rodriguez of Work & Class, Super Mega Bien, Cantina Loca, and Casa Bonita recently to share her tamale-making skills and some of her story.

Here, she joins Food Bank of the Rockies’ executive chef, Jon Knight, to make tamales for 1,500 kids experiencing food insecurity. Through our Food for Kids program, Food Bank of the Rockies regularly distributes food and meals to schools and other sites, ensuring every kid has enough to eat at all times.

Green Chile Tamales

Recipe by Dana Rodriguez


5 lbs. prepared masa (you can find this in Mexican food stores or carnicerias)
3 bags/boxes (4.4 lbs. each) of Maseca corn flour “tamal mix”
3 lbs. lard (use shortening as a vegetarian option)
Salt to taste
Lukewarm water or vegetable stock

To make:

Place the masa in a bowl and mix by hand with lard (or shortening, if making vegetarian tamales) and salt. Incorporate water/vegetable stock until dough is soft.

Filling – Rajas Peppers Mix:

30 Anaheim peppers
30 poblano peppers
5 jalapeño peppers
4 large yellow onions
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup ground cumin
¼ cup ground coriander
½ cup salt
¼ cup black pepper
3 bunches cilantro, chopped
3 lbs. Asadero cheese or mozzarella cheese loaf/brick
6 bags of corn husks

To make:

  • Grill, roast or fry the Anaheim, poblano, and jalapeño peppers.
  • Place all peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic, and let them rest for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, peel the peppers and remove seeds.
  • Slice the peppers and set aside.
  • Next, clean and slice the onions. Place a rondo or big pan on high heat, add the oil, then add the onion and cook on high heat until golden.
  • Add the peppers, lower the heat to medium, and cook together for 10 minutes.
  • Add spices and cilantro and remove from heat. Mix well and set aside.
  • Cut cheese into French fry-sized sticks.

Assemble the tamales:

Soak corn husks in hot water until soft. Using the larger husks, place each husk waxy side up (ribbed side down). Spread the masa on the corn husk, add peppers mix and cheese. Close and steam for 1 hour.


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