Tamales often feature meaty fillings, but this earthy recipe from chef Jorge Guzmán of Petite León in Minneapolis is vegetarian. The dark color comes from huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on corn and has been used in Mexican cooking for centuries. (You can buy it canned online or at some Mexican markets.)

Source: Midwest Living


Credit: Kevin Miyazaki

Recipe Summary

1 hr
2 hrs
24 tamales




Instructions Checklist
  • For filling: In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high until extremely hot, almost smoking. Add all the fresh mushrooms and sear on one side 3 minutes without stirring. Add shallots, huitlacoche and epazote; cook and stir 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, oregano and thyme. Let stand until cooled, about 20 minutes. Stir in cheese.

  • For masa: Place lard in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add 1 tablespoon chicken stock and the salt. Continue beating until light and fluffy. Add masa harina and baking powder; beat 1 minute. Remove masa from mixer and separate into four portions.

  • With the mixer running, alternately add the remaining stock and the masa portions. Continue beating until dough is aerated and fluffy, about 10 minutes. The masa is ready when a dollop of dough floats in cold water.

  • Meanwhile, place husks in a very large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 to 45 minutes or until soft. Drain well; pat dry.

  • To assemble tamales: Lay a corn husk on the work surface with the narrow end close to you. Spoon a good dollop (about 3 rounded tablespoons) of masa about 1 inch from the wide end. Press a divot into the masa with the back of a spoon and fill it with about 2 tablespoons filling. Press filling flat with the back of the spoon. Bring the sides of the corn husk together over the filling. Grasp the closed corn husk above the filling. Press down with one hand while pulling up the sides of the corn husk with your other hand to enclose the filling with masa and shape the mixture into a cylinder. Roll the corn husk around the cylinder, then fold the narrow end up toward the opposite end, pressing to compact the cylinder further. Tie with a corn husk strip, if you like. (But you don't need it.) Place tamales on a platter or in a bowl with open ends up until all are assembled

  • To steam tamales: Place a large steamer basket in an 8-quart pot. Add water to just below the basket. Stand tamales upright in steamer basket with open ends up. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and steam until corn husks easily pull away from masa and masa is spongy and cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover; let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve tamales with salsa and crema.


Sometimes called Mexican truffle, huitlacoche is a dark gray, complex-flavored fungus that grows on ears of corn and has been used in cooking for centuries. Canned huitlacoche can be a little hard to find, even in Mexican markets, but is easily found online. Don't use fresh, as it has a different consistency.


Epazote is an herb common in Mexican cuisine. Its flavor is like an amalgam of oregano, anise, citrus and mint. If you can't find it, use cilantro.


Layer cooled tamales (in husks) in an airtight container. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw tamales in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, place a few tamales on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

233 calories; fat 16g; cholesterol 23mg; saturated fat 6g; carbohydrates 19g; mono fat 4g; poly fat 2g; insoluble fiber 2g; sugars 3g; protein 5g; vitamin a 148.9IU; vitamin c 1.4mg; riboflavin 0.1mg; niacin equivalents 1mg; vitamin b6 0.1mg; folate 9mcg; sodium 341mg; potassium 154mg; calcium 47mg; iron 1.6mg.