Steps in Preparation

01:02 – Preparing Green Chile Sauce
10:13 – Preparing Tamales
25:55 – Plating Tamales
27:45 – Preparing Pinto Beans
35:10 – Pinto Beans – Final Product


Classic New Mexican Green Chile Chicken Tamales and Pinto Beans with Chef Noe Cano

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Warm, spicy tastes and enticing aromas evoke Santa Fe’s rich cultural traditions. This class allows you to experience this delicious cuisine, including local cooking techniques and the lore of the region. Tamales are one of Santa Fe’s iconic food traditions! Learn to prepare green chile chicken tamales and Noe’s famous pinto beans.

Ingredients and Specialty Cookware Available at the SFSC Marketplace

  • Masa Harina (tamales / course grind)
  • Cornhusks
  • Pinto Beans
  • Roasted New Mexico Green Chile
  • Chipotle Seasoning
  • Mexican oregano
  • Cumin seed
  • Coriander
  • Epazote
  • Chile Caribe
  • New Mexico Red Chile Powder
  • Chipotle en Adobo
  • La Chamba Casserole Dish
  • La Chamba Soup Pot
Shop the SFSC Marketplace

Other Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Baking Powder
  • Lard (vegetable shortening or butter)
  • Chicken Broth
  • Whole Chicken
  • Green Chile
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Flour
  • Bay Leaf

Green Chile Sauce and Filling - Makes 16 tamales

Green Chile Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 Tablespoon coarsely minced garlic
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons flour (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cups green chile
  1. Sauté the onion until a little color develops, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute more.
  2. Stir in the flour (if using), add the green chiles, and coriander and slowly stir in the chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer about 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.


  • 1 1/2 pounds shredded chicken, made from whole, roasted chicken
  • 1 cup green chile sauce (see recipe above)
  • 2 Tablespoons chile caribe, toasted

Mix all ingredients together.

Masa Dough - Makes 12 tamales

  • 1 1/2 cups masa harina
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons lard, vegetable shortening or butter
  • 1- 1 1/4 cups water or chicken broth
  1. In a medium bowl mix masa harina, salt, and baking powder until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the lard (or shortening or butter) and beat at medium-high speed until fluffy. Slowly add the masa harina mixture by heaping spoonfuls and continue to beat until thoroughly incorporated. Slowly add the water or broth and beat on medium-high for 5 to 7 minutes, or until fluffy. Test by dropping 1/2 teaspoon of dough into a glass of cold water. If it floats, it’s ready to be formed into tamales. If it doesn’t float, continue to beat on medium-high to incorporate air.

Making Tamales:

To Soften Corn Husks: Soak in warm water overnight of immerse in boiling water for an hour. Drain.

To Assemble:

  1. Place 1 to 2 Tablespoons of prepared masa in the center of a softened corn husk and spread it into a rectangle.
  2. Add several teaspoons of filling down the center of the masa.
  3. Fold one side of the corn husk over the filling.
  4. Fold the opposite side over the folded side.
  5. Tie the ends of the tamale with a piece of the corn husk torn lengthwise like a string, or alternatively, fold both ends of the tamale up and secure with a strip of the husk, forming more of a rectangle.

To Cook:

  1. Fill the bottom of a steamer with 2 to 3 inches of water and drop a pebble in the bottom. Place the basket in the steamer and line it with some extra corn husks. Place the tamales in flat layers on the corn husks and cover the tamales with a few more of the husks so they don’t dry out.
  2. Cover the steamer with its lid. Bring the water to a boil and cook the tamales for 45 to 50 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch and the husk easily peels away from the masa.
  3. Listen to the pot while it boils; the pebble will make a noise on the bottom of the pan. If the pan boils dry, you will not hear the noise and it is a signal to add more water. Let the tamales rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Pinto Beans - Serves 8 to 10

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups diced onion
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth or water, or a combination of the two
  • 2 small bay leaves, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried epazote, optional (see Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed, optional
  • 1 dried chipotle chile, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons juice from a jar of Chipotle en Adobo, optional (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Optional ingredients: salt pork or bacon, fresh or dried sage, fresh or dried thyme, pure ground red chile

  1. Overnight soaking helps to reduce the gaseous properties of the beans. If you choose to soak, drain and rinse the beans before starting the next phase.
  2. Place the beans in a 6-quart pot, cover with cold water by 3 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans for 2 to 3 hours, until the beans begin to soften. Drain and rinse well.
  3. Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot over medium-high and sauté the onions until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans, broth, bay leaves, oregano, epazote, cumin, coriander and the dried chile, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 1 hour, stirring frequently. Add more liquid if needed. When the beans are creamy, add the chipotle en adobo juice and the salt, and cook 15 minutes more. The beans should have enough liquid to stir easily.

Note: Do not add salt or any ingredients which contain acid (i.e. vinegar, citrus juice, tomatoes) to beans until after they have softened because it will inhibit the cooking process and the beans will be tough. Frequently, recipes for pinto beans include a ham hock, salt pork or bacon. If this idea sounds appealing, add 1 ham hock, whole, or 2 slices of salt pork or bacon, diced, while sautéing the onion.