Chile con Frijol Negro Tamales (Chile & Black Bean Tamales)
Makes 25 to 30 tamales
Throughout Mexico you can find both savory and sweet tamales -- all delicious, nutritious, ecological little bundles. Our savory tamales made with masa harina (corn flour) and wrapped in soft corn husks make for a beautiful presentation or a meal on the run.

Prep Time: 55 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour

32 large dried corn husks
8 cups masa harina
5 1/2 cups water at room temperature
4 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 cups corn oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium pimento, finely chopped
2 medium poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
Sea salt to taste
6 Italian tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups refried black beans
1/4 pound farmer's cheese or queso panela, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (optional)

1. Separate corn husks and soak them in warm water until soft. Remove any dirt and cut one or two husks into long, thin strips to tie the ends of the tamales.

2. Combine the masa flour, water, salt and corn oil and knead until the dough is smooth (about 10 minutes). Cover and set aside.

3. Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the pimento, poblano chiles and tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring constantly. Season to taste with sea salt and remove from heat.

4. On a clean work surface, spread about 1/4 cup of the tamale dough up and out from the base of a soft corn husk, leaving about 2 inches on both ends clean. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the tomato-chile mixture into the center of the masa. Place 2 chunks of cheese and a spoonful of beans on top.

5. Cover the filling by folding over the sides of the husk, completely encasing the filling. Tie the ends with the softened corn husk strips.

6. Arrange the tamales in a large steamer with 2 to 3 inches of water in the bottom. Cover and steam for 1 hour, occasionally adding hot water to replace what boils off.

Remove tamales from husks and serve.