History of Tamales
This blog has been prepared for guests of Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn- Santa Fe. In response to the popularity of our New Mexico red chile pork tamales served hot daily for breakfast. We hope you enjoy the History of the Tamale!!
“Tamale” is derived from the word tamalii an Aztec word meaning “wrapped food”. Though we are not certain when or who invented the tamale, we do know tamales were written about since pre-Columbian days. Aztecs served Spaniard soldiers tamales during visits to Mexico in the 1550’s. Tamales were eaten by soldiers on long sojourns into Mexico as tamales are portable and easy to heat.
Tamales have been eaten in the United States since at least 1893 when they were featured at the World’s Columbian Exposition. A tradition of roving tamale sellers was documented in early 20th-century in blue/ragtime music song “They’re Red Hot” by Robert Johnson.
While Mexican-style and other Latin American-style tamales are featured at ethnic restaurants throughout the United States, Pueblo Bonito b&b inn- Santa Fe proudly features our traditional New Mexico red chile pork tamale! A distinctly indigenous tribute to New Mexico culture, tradition and cuisine.
Tamales typically are not made every day, as they once were, as they are very labor intensive. Rather you find tamales being made for special occasions like the Day of the Dead, Christmas, Native American Feast Days, New Year’s or just about any other family or holiday celebration. Tamale making is usually a family affair! Traditionally family members gather together and make fillings and masa the day before. Day 2 creates an assembly line- family of all ages form to spread the masa on corn husks, fill and fold the tamales. Once the tamales are assembled, they are steamed and finally eaten. Usually hundreds of tamales are made at once so everyone can take some home and share with friends and family. Guests of Pueblo Bonito, though not required to create the tamale, are warmly invited to our tables to share as friends in this delectable tradition of hospitality- enjoy!
#2 in Series of Top Recommended Santa Fe Day Trips – See part one here: http://pueblobonito.wpengine.com/top-recommended-santa-fe-day-trips.html
Providing Santa Fe Travelers with Memorable Experiences for 30+ years!
Santa Fe Tourist Attractions To See During Your Day Trip
In north-central New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, lies a unique and breathtaking scenic geological area known as Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. The location makes for a perfect destination for a Top Santa Fe day trip! Whether driving from Albuquerque Sunport to get to Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast in downtown Santa Fe or departing Santa Fe to return to Albuquerque, we highly recommend this Top Santa Fe Day trip to make your visit memorable! NOTE: Approximate drive time is 40 minutes.
Kasha-Katuwe or” white cliffs” as known in Keresan (the traditional language of the Cochiti Pueblo people) is now a US National Park that features large, tent-shaped rocks that hug steep cliffs of the Peralta Canyon. It is stated that these rocks were created from powerful forces of vulcanism and erosion, having been built up and then torn down to create a one-of-a- kind landscape. Theory states that during the last million years, a tremendous volcanic explosion northwest of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks spewed rock and ash for hundreds of square miles, leaving volcanic debris up to 400 feet thick. Over time, water has cut into these deposits, creating canyons, arroyos and other area features. Cone-shaped rock formations where wind- and water-eroded pumice and tuff deposits make for spectacular viewing. Formation tops feature hard, erosion-resistant caprocks which have protected the softer “tents” below over time. While uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet- something Santa Fe visitors will enjoy photographing and hiking in this slot canyon.
To create a TOP Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks day trip we recommend the following: Make a full day trip by leaving Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast in downtown Santa Fe after a hearty breakfast to include red chile pork tamales, then out of town South to I-25S (Albuquerque). Access to the park is via Cochiti pueblo. (Direction are below). Hiking and exploring this slot canyon can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2+ hours- the farther you hike into the formations the more amazing the tents! When finished in the park, back track through Cochiti Pueblo, but this time head toward the Santo Domingo Pueblo! An actively inhabited Northern New Mexico pueblo that will add to your Top Santa Fe Day trip adventure. Continue to head toward I-25 and take N toward Santa Fe or S to Albuquerque. If returning to Santa Fe consider this side trip! Take highway 14 (Turquoise Trail)- officially a scenic byway, Highway 14 will take you past Cerrillos NM an enchanting old coal mining town and into Madrid, NM. This once popular and economically hopping town was originally founded to fund the energy war efforts. Coal mining companies came in which allowed settlers to stake claims and live in this small, but influential town years ago. After the war, the coal mines withdrew leaving the town virtually abandoned. Around the 1980’s this area became rediscovered by east coasts artists who have today made this sleepy little village a fun and funky visitors stop on the Turquoise Trail! We suggest planning lunch or happy hour at the Mine Shaft Tavern as they are known for their Madchile cheese burger (winner of Santa Fe Smackdow) and Madchile margarita!
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe and 50 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the most direct access from Interstate 25. Take the Cochiti Reservoir exit from I-25 to NM Route 22 and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo. Turn right at the pueblo water tower (painted like a drum) onto Tribal Route 92 (connects to Forest Service Road 266). Travel 5 miles on a dirt road to the Tent Rocks parking area, which is marked with a sign. This is the only parking area for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks.
Looking for New Mexico lodging in Santa Fe that creates a one-of-a-kind travel experience? Look no farther- Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn provides historic adobe downtown lodging that no other can replicate! Check out our history here: Availability here: Special Travel Deals Here!
Okay folks… you asked for it! Needless to say, we receive numerous inquiries about green chile… how to make it; how to cook it; how to store it; how to roast it; how to peel it; etc. So due to popular request, we have provided some basic information for our beloved chile lover guests who want to know! Enjoy- COMPLIMENTS OF INN AT PUEBLO BONITO- SANTA FE
CHILE 101: PREPARATION, HANDLING AND STORING NEW MEXICO CHILE
Chile – both Red and Green – are essential ingredients in traditional New Mexican cooking. Of course, one can buy already prepped and ready to go chile, but Santa Fe chefs know chile taste better when prepared in season and fresh. Doing it yourself not only is more economical, but it’s fun too! An experience of authentic New Mexico culture and history. Below is everything you need to know to become a “chile pro”. Go ahead, take your New Mexico cooking to the next level!
Perfect Chile Roasting 101:
ROASTING FRESH NEW MEXICO CHILES AT HOME
- It’s easy! Roast fresh New Mexico chile pods in an oven; on top of a gas stove; or on an outdoor grill!
- Begin with New Mexico grown green chiles- they are the most frequently roasted! About twenty minutes for oven roasting putting a single layer of green chile on baking sheet. Blister chile at 450° F (blackening skins in many spots) and turn as needed for uniformed scorching or until chiles collapse.
- If roasting just a few green pods, hold with tongs over flame of a gas burner for a few minutes. Turn to blacken all over, or use an asador (wire-mesh griddle).
- If using a gas or charcoal grill, place green chile on grate over hot fire, searing all sides- about ten minutes.
- Roast fresh red pods the same ways, but because of their higher moisture content, keep from blistering and blackening as fully as green. Judge their readiness by looking for loosening skin with deep brown shades.
STEAM AND PEEL FRESH NEW MEXICO CHILES
After roasting red or green chile, steam pods immediately to loosen skins.
- Place pods in a Ziploc plastic bag or covered bowl. Let sit five to ten minutes until cool enough to handle.
- Peeling quantities of chiles, require rubber gloves! Avoid capsaicin (substance that gives the pods heat) getting onto your hands- it doesn’t wash off easily and can irritate skin.
- Strip off the outer skin or peel. If tempted to run water over chiles to help in the process (some peel is bound to stick)- Don’t do it! As this will dilutes the flavor. Instead, rinse gloved hands under running water.
- Remove all stems and seeds unless plans include stuffing chiles. In this case, leave the stem and any seeds still attached to avoid weakening the pod.
GREEN CHILE SAUCE RECIPE: Servings: 4 cups
Green chile sauce is an essential ingredient in New Mexican recipes. Green chile sauce can be frozen- so feel free to be creative and smother any/all meats, eggs, pasta, etc with this highly popular accompaniment! This green chile sauce will be a welcomed treat packing a punch of flavor and spice to any dish. If planning ahead, remember this keeps for 3 days refrigerated otherwise it freezes well!
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ to 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chopped roasted New Mexican green chile, fresh or thawed frozen
- 2 cups chicken or beef stock
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Warm the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and continue cooking for another 1 or 2 minutes.
- Mix in the chile. Immediately begin pouring in the stock, stirring as you go, then add the salt.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until thickened but still very pourable. Use warm or refrigerate for later use.
RED CHILE SAUCE RECIPE:
Another staple in New Mexican cooking! Use red sauce in enchiladas, burritos, tamales, or smothered on top of basically anything. This sauce will keep up to 6 days refrigerated and freezes well.
Servings: 4 cups
- Toast dried whole chile pods in a heavy skillet over medium heat until they are warm and release their fragrance, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Remove the chiles from the skillet immediately. When cool enough to handle, break each chile pod into several pieces (wearing rubber or plastic gloves if your skin is sensitive), discarding the stem and seeds.
- Place half the chile pieces in a blender and pour in one-half of the water or stock. Puree until mostly smooth but with a few flecks of chile still visible in the liquid.
- Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté several minutes until the onion is limp.
- Pour in the blended chile mixture, then add oregano and salt.
- Puree the remaining chiles with the remaining water and pour it into the sauce in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for a total of 20 to 25 minutes.
- After about 15 minutes, taste the sauce and adjust seasonings. When ready, the sauce will be cooked down enough to coat a spoon thickly but still drop off of it easily. Use warm or refrigerate for later use.
- 8 ounces (about 20 to 25) dried whole red New Mexican chile pods, mild, medium, hot, or a combination
- 4 cups water or chicken stock (divided use)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons crumbled dried Mexican oregano, or marjoram
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Anytime of year is an excellent time to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico! Foods, flavors, colors, clear skies, world class museums, art, culture, skiing and so much more! But the Fall- October, November are Chile harvest times! Fresh Chile is abundant. Then December while New Mexicans are preparing for Holidays- chiles are plentiful in local markets. Rejenos, tamales, stews, posole are local traditional favorites. Inn at Pueblo Bonito features the BEST Red Chile Pork Tamales in the State of New Mexico every morning for breakfast- all year round! So, we invite you to travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico and feast on our local cuisine featuring the beloved red or green chile. You won’t be sorry! Give us a call 1-800-461-4599 if we can be of assistance. We’d love to host you on your next historic Santa Fe vacation get away! Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast Santa Fe!
Whether a first time or multiple Santa Fe visitor, there are endless reasons for returning to New Mexico’s premier travel destination and Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn. Numerous traditional, diverse and unique experiences await Santa Fe travelers which can include – but are not limited to: Art, Art and More World Class Art; Galleries; Markets; Festivals; Opera; Chamber Music; Restaurants; Skiing Santa Fe; Canyon Rd; Shopping the Plaza; Hiking National Parks; Native American History and Culture; Color changing of Aspens; and so many more – it’s impossible to list them all!
To enhance popular suggestions for Santa Fe Travelers, we add the art of native New Mexico cuisine and offer two current Santa Fe Travel suggestions to consider this fall, winter and holiday season:
Walking distance from Inn at Pueblo Bonito – Santa Fe in downtown is the relatively new Savory Spice Shop. Savory Spice Shop offers a new culinary option focusing on seasonal harvest items and spices in a unique cooking environment. Classes include canning, pickling and general spicing up your cooking life are available. Current cooking class offerings as of the publication of this blog are as follows:
Wednesday, September 23rd at 6:00: Spice 101: Learn World Food through Spices! Explore the world of food through different spices while enjoy dinner and learning information on over 100 different spices. Perfect class for novices and experts delving into history, flavor profiles, and uses. Great information to take home and apply to any cuisine!
Sunday, September 27th at 4:30pm: Seafood! Seafood! Seafood!
Learn to make two scrumptious spicy seafood meals -Sesame Coconut Shrimp with Zesty Asian Slaw and Seared Tuna with Wasabi Cream and Singapore Noodle Salad. To die for!
For additional Savory Spice Shop class offerings please check out their blog post or Call (505) 819-5659.
Approximately one mile from Inn at Pueblo Bonito- Santa Fe’s doorstep, is Santa Fe School of Cooking. Four fundamental classes on traditional New Mexico foods are the heart of Santa Fe School of Cooking. Experience delicious local cuisine as well as local cooking techniques and lore of the region. Warm, spicy tastes and enticing aromas evoke Santa Fe’s rich cultural traditions. Please register directly at Santa Fe School of Cooking.
Traditional New Mexican I (Trad I):
This class includes: corn tortillas, cheese enchiladas with red chile sauce, chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce, pinto beans, posole, and capirotada (bread pudding). Demonstration Class, 3-hours.
September 17, 2015 – 10:00am
October 31, 2015 – 10:00am
November 24, 2015 – 10:00am
December 21, 2015 – 10:00am
Traditional New Mexican II (Trad II):
To include: flour tortillas, carne adovada (red chile marinated pork), chile rellenos, calabacitas (green chile, squash, corn), refritos, and sopapillas. Demonstration Class, 3-hours.
September 22, 2015 – 10:00am
October 13, 2015 – 10:00am
December 04, 2015 – 10:00am
December 29, 2015 – 10:00am
Traditional New Mexican III (Trad III):
To include: Classic New Mexican green chile stew, blue corn and green chile muffins, piñon butter, quesadillas, salsa fresca and rich natillas. Demonstration Class, 3-hours.
October 10, 2015 – 10:00am
November 12, 2015 – 10:00am
Traditional New Mexican IV (Trad IV):
A “new” class highlighting traditional New Mexican foods: green chile and chico soup, beef carnitas served on a gordita, corn on the cob with cilantro lime butter, pickled jalapeno cabbage slaw and bizcochitos (New Mexico’s official state cookie!) with cajeta. Demonstration Class, 3-hours.
November 28, 2015 – 10:00am
Tamales l (Tamales I):**
3 hours devoted to the art of making traditional tamales! Highlighting different tamale techniques -red chile pork, Southern Mexican chicken in banana leaf and blue corn calabacita (vegan). Accompanied by authentic New Mexican red chile sauce. Make your own tamales and enjoy the fruits of your labor at the end of class! Limited to 16 people.
September 13, 2015 – 11:00am
October 06, 2015 – 2:00pm
October 11, 2015 – 11:00am
November 07, 2015 – 3:00pm
November 15, 2015 – 11:00am
November 28, 2015 – 2:00pm
December 05, 2015 – 3:00pm
December 20, 2015 – 11:00am
December 27, 2015 – 2:00pm
December 31, 2015 – 10:00am
**Tamale class is one of our favorite suggestions for guests of Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast Santa Fe, NM– as our signature breakfast item “Pueblo Tamales” are traditional red chile pork tamales- a true Guest Favorite!**
Red chile ristras are strung pods of dried red chile frequently displayed near arches, front doors and windows throughout New Mexico. They are iconic in Santa Fe for decorating, especially during harvest months- September and October. Holidays also are popular times and are symbolic of a warm, inviting “welcome.” Ristras have practical uses as well. Red Chile is the featured ingredient of delicious sauces, marinade, and traditional New Mexican culinary dishes.
New Mexico’s arid climate and abundant sunshine provide ideal conditions for annual chile crops which on average produce 80,000 tons a year. Late summer, early fall are unique times when large chile pepper crops are harvested and frequently picked fresh, roasted and eaten as green chile. When the fruit is left on the plant a little longer to ripen, it turns a vibrant red. This causes the fruit to completely change its properties and then is dried, crushed and eaten. Red chile is often strung up into chile ristras to dehydrate in the sun.
Traditional methods were to sun-dry fruits by laying them out, however, contamination among birds and rodents has prompted people to begin tying them together in strings and hanging them on walls, etc. However, you can still see rooftops of homes, stores covered in red chile for drying purposes – especially in the little town of Hatch NM! Hatch is known at the Chile Capital of the World and rightly so. It grows more green chile than anywhere on earth and its crops are highly sought after by locals and tourists alike! As ristras dry their color darkens to a subtle rusty red color. At this point, they are ready to use in cooking or as decoration as ristras!
Dried Red Chile Ristra as Decorations:
Fall traditions of Santa Fe, New Mexico include red chile ristras adorning farmer’s markets and roadside stands around the state. Red Chile Ristras are commonly used for decoration as seen with backgrounds of adobe brown buildings. They are said to bring health and good luck! Interested in taking a good luck chile ristra home with you? We invite you to enjoy the thrill of fall Santa Fe travel with the purpose of purchasing a red chile ristras for yourself. They make great gifts too! A visit to Santa Fe in fall is much more advised as boxing and mailing isn’t a preferred method in handeling these beauties! Thier vibrant red color makes for a memorable statement for welcomed guests. New Mexico’s arid dry climate provides a perfect showcase for these lovely hanging chiles, however they might not do so well back home. If visiting Santa Fe from a more humid state, your ristra may need to be treated with lacquer before taking it home. Lacquer will help preserve the chile from moisture in the air and avoid messes later on. We use Aquanet hairspray on ours- even in Santa Fe to highlight the color, prevent flying pests from enjoying the chile, and simply to provide a longer hanging life!
Dried Chile in Cooking
Use dried red chile in cooking, either crushed as powder or rehydrated, blended, boiled and then strained to make red chile sauce (also just called “red chile”). Red Chile, along with green chile, is a staple in traditional New Mexican cuisine! Red chile sauces can be ladled over dishes, such as enchiladas and tamales; used as base for stews, such as posole; or marinade for meats, as with carne adovada. Green chile, however, is most often used in soups, dips and chowders. Regardless of how you choose to use chile- red or green- it’s a New Mexico tradition! Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast is famous for thier “Pueblo Tamale” which is featured every morning for breakfast. How better to start your day than a red chile pork tamale with fresh fruit and coffee?