Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tamale Time

Tamales are a popular holiday treat for many families in the Southwest. In our house, we have had the tradition of preparing a wide variety these steamed delights for our Christmas Eve dinners for several years, and they are always a crowd-pleaser. Our green corn tamales are typically the most popular and that’s the recipe I am going to share with you today! Plus, I’ve halved the fat content of our traditional recipe and have found that they are just as satisfying and delicious!


(Makes around 2 dozen tamales)
½ Lb. Whole-grain medium-grind corn meal (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
32 oz. frozen corn defrosted room temp (fresh corn is also good)
1 tbsp sugar
½ stick of butter at room temp (can be doubled for a richer flavor)
½ cup of shortening (can be doubled for more shorteningy)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
4 roasted, pealed, and seeded green chiles (hatch or poblano), cut into thin strips
½ pound shredded colby jack cheese and ½ pound shredded aged cheddar cheese - mixed
1 package of dried cornhusks
Parchment paper cut into squares or precut parchment for tamales
(Special Equipment: food processor, tamalera or steaming wrack for a large pot)
Although there are a lot of steps to the recipe, it is my opinion that tamale making has been hyped up to be a little more challenging and time consuming than the reality of the process. Just make sure to have all of your equipment and ingredients ready in advance, and you will be eating tamales within a couple of hours.
Begin by soaking your cornhusks in a large pot of hot water for an hour prior to the tamale making. Next, place a steam wrack in the bottom of your pot or tamalera, add two cups of water, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
tamale pot
Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until it is a fine powder. Next, add the shortening and butter and process till combined. Then, add the corn and process into a paste.
Spread 1/4cup of the masa onto an open corn husk leaving about an inch of husk above and below the filling. Add a tablespoon of cheese, a chili strip, and another spoonful of masa over the filling.
tamale filling
Fold the bottom flap of the husk over the filling, fold a side flap over the filling and roll to seal.
tamale husk1

husk wrapped tamale
Next, place the husked tamale on a square piece of parchment paper on a bias. Fold over the top and bottom flaps, fold over the side flap pointing towards you, and then roll the tamale to seal (like wrapping egg rolls). Repeat until done.
tamale wrap 1
Line your steam wrack, and the sides of the pot with leftover cornhusks. Place the tamales in the pot horizontally so that the filling does not run out.
tamales in pot
Steam for an hour and pig out!
sweet potato salsa on tamale

green corn tamale