In the Husk

All-local tamales from Las Manas

Until Amber Wojcinski hires a kitchen helper, you'll have to be a Green City Market early bird to taste her new tamales, made with ingredients from the stands nearby, and in batches of 300 or less.

But Las Manas Tamales are worth an early Saturday or Wednesday trip to the market, which kicked off its outdoor season last week.

Unable to find masa ground from local corn, Wojcinski makes her own, soaking dried kernels from Three Sisters Garden, cooking the hominy, and blending it with Three Sisters cornmeal, butter and sunflower oil to create a pillowy surrounding for braised meats, vegetables and cheeses.

Her inaugural trio of flavors ($6 each) included Mint Creek bacon with Green Acres chives and Prairie Pure Butterkäse cheese, and Prairie Fruits Farm goat cheese with River Valley cremini mushrooms and Green Acres sorrel. (Yes, these tamales are name-droppers in the best way.)

On Wednesday, she brightened spiced, braised pork shoulder with a punchy ramp-rhubarb compote. Once fruits come into season, she'll add sweet tamales to the lineup.

Eat the tamales warm at the market, take them home to reheat, or freeze them for up to three months. And cross your fingers that Wojcinski finds help soon–until then, these tamales will be limited-edition.

Buy Las Manas Tamales at Green City Market, between Clark St. and Stockton Dr.; 773-880-1266 or greencitymarket.org