Tamale Frittata

So, if you’re reading this, I guess the world didn’t end. I guess that deserves a massive YIPPPEEE!

Anyhow, on to our regularly scheduled topic…

Growing up in New Mexico, we had some unique regional skews to our holiday traditions…from dried chile ristras and biscochitos cookies to green chile stew (note the use of chile, it’s how you can tell I’m actually from the Land of Enchantment). But the one thing that I looked forward to every Christmas was something my Aunt made: A Tamale Frittata. Like Veronica’s Mom’s Habanada, this dish came without fail as we patiently (HA) waited to open presents. Over the years, I started looking forward to the dish as much as the packages.

Now, that we split the holidays between my wife’s family and mine, we celebrate every other Christmas in California. So on those years, I make my own Tamale Frittata to bring to the festivities.

I can’t resist sharing the recipe with you because it’s just so dang good.

• 3 or 4 Tamales broken into bite-sized chunks (husks removed)
Note: Use your favorite vendor or Costco carries some good ones out here.
• Hatch (aka New Mexican) Green Chiles ~2 cans or 2 fresh chiles chopped
Note: I’ve found many of the grocery stores in California – including Trader Joe’s – carry a canned version of these in the Hispanic/International food aisle. They don’t pack the heat of the fresh stuff, but they get the flavor.
• 6-8 Eggs.
            Note: The number used depends on how egg-y you want it.
• Cheddar Cheese (grated)
• Onion (chopped)

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF
  2. In a greased, 9” round glass pie dish  or an 8”x8” ceramic baking dish, spread the Tamales out such that they cover the bottom, but don’t touch each other.
  3. Sprinkle the chiles and onions over the Tamale (ok, go ahead and get some in between too)
  4. Beat the eggs.
  5. Pour the eggs over the Tamales. I like to have the Tamales completely covered.
  6. Holding the sides, jiggle the dish to get the eggs spread throughout.
  7. Top with the grated cheese until covered with goodness
  8. Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Broil for just a minute or two until cheese starts to golden (don’t walk away…it’ll burn immediately – it’s a law of nature)
  10. Enjoy!
No matter where I am, when I bite into this awesomeness, I’m back in my Aunt’s house staring at all those lovely gifts under the tree and hearing the family chatter joyfully.


Ok, silly question from a northern Midwesterner. When you say tamale, do you mean the seasoned meat wrap version or just the wrap itself, eg the corn husk or the cornmeal dough?

Not a silly question! I mean the meat wrapped in the cornmeal, but with the husks removed.

YUM! And what a great tradition! I'm glad the world hasn't ended, so I can try this out. :)

Gosh, I've been reading your posts for months now and never realized you grew up in New Mexico, Bret. I was raised in San Francisco but my husband's job brought us to NM 25 years ago! I live in a little town right on the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque. I have a dozen red pork tamales ordered as well as a dozen chicken green chili for Christmas Eve. We live in an adobe house too, and our entire neighborhood lights hundreds and hundreds of luminarias every Christmas Eve. It's gorgeous. What part do you hail from? And THANKS for the Frittata recipe. Gonna use it for sure! It sounds delicious. Feliz Navidad!

That's awesome Kimberley! I grew up in the East Mountains on the way up to Sandia Peak Ski Area, though I went to high school in Albuquerque. Whenever we're in New Mexico for Christmas, we love seeing the luminarias.

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