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Tamales

Daring Cooks
January 2012

Hi! **waves enthusiastically** My name is Maranda and I blog over at Jolts & Jollies.

I am a stay at home mommy to 2 kiddos and an Army Brat turned Army Wife. My husband and I met in El Paso, Texas, which is right on the border of Mexico and New Mexico. Needless to say, Mexican food is at your fingertips throughout the city and beyond.

I LOVE Mexican food. There is something about tacos, enchiladas, green chiles and tamales that really do it for me. When my husband and I moved to Upstate New York we found that our beloved Mexican food was hard to come by. We met a similar culinary devastation when we moved to the Middle of Nowhere Missouri as well.

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Luckily, we were able to find a small place in Upstate New York that had decent Mexican food. I was also able to find a lady selling tamales at the Farmer’s Market in Missouri.

One of our family traditions is to celebrate the new year with delicious tamales. Since the Army keeps moving us to places where tamales are difficult to find, I thought it was high time to learn how to make them myself. And since I hate to do things by myself, I figured that I would challenge you to hone your tamale making skills with me!

Tamales can be traced back as far 5000 B.C. Tamale making is usually a social event with the women in Hispanic families gathering together to spend an afternoon making dozens and dozens of tamales.

Tamales are made up of a masa (dough) usually made from a corn base and a filling. These are wrapped in corn husks, a large leaf, or some other wrapping and steamed to cook. The wrapper is discarded before eating.

Tamales are not so much about the food but about the memories created when making and eating them. So gather some friends and family together and get to making some tamales! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

Recipe Source: Green Chile Chicken Tamales adapted from Epicurious http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Chile-Chicken-Tamales-108055

Vegan Black Bean and Green Chile Tamales adapted from Squidoo http://www.squidoo.com/easy-vegan-tamale-recipes

Blog-checking lines: Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

Posting Date: January 14, 2012

Note: If you use a traditional masa mixture (white corn flour, not to be confused with corn starch) you will need to add baking powder and salt for the Green Chile Chicken Tamales. Some masa mixtures can be purchased with the baking powder and salt already included.

If you cannot find corn husks, you can use parchment paper or plastic wrap.

Mandatory Items: You must prepare a “dough” and a filling. These must be wrapped in a corn husk, parchment paper, or plastic wrapped and steamed to cook.

Variations allowed: Creativity is highly encouraged. Be it sweet, savory or altered due to dietary preferences and restrictions.

Preparation time:
Soaking the corn husks: 3 hours or up to 1 day

Green Chile Chicken Tamales:
For the filling: 1 ½ hours
For the masa: 10 minutes
Preparation and cooking: 2 hours (depending on how quickly you become at pressing and rolling the dough)

Vegan Black Bean and Green Chile Tamales:
For the filling: 5 minutes
For the masa: 10 minutes
Preparation and cooking: 2 hours (depending on how quickly you become at pressing and rolling the dough)

Equipment required:
For the husks:
• 1 large pot
• 1 heavy plate OR medium pot

For the Green Chile Chicken Tamales:
• 1 medium pot
• 1 heavy baking sheet
• Aluminum Foil
• Medium sauce pan
• Food processor
• Electric mixer with paddle attachment
• Large pot with steamer attachment

For the Vegan Black Bean and Green Chile Tamales:
• 1 medium mixing bowl
• Electric mixer with paddle attachment
• Large pot with steamer attachment


Green Chile Chicken Tamales:


Servings: About 24 tamales


Ingredients
1 – 8 ounce (225 gram) package dried corn husks (If you cannot find corn husks, you can use parchment paper or plastic wrap.)

For filling:
1 pound (455 gram) tomatillos (can sub mild green chilies – canned or fresh)
4 – 3 inch (7½ cm) serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped (can sub jalapeno)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups (480 ml) low sodium chicken broth
4 cups (960 ml) (400 gm/14 oz) cooked and shredded chicken
2/3 cup (160 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) roughly chopped fresh cilantro (also known as coriander)

For the masa dough:
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (265 gm/9⅓ oz) lard or vegetable shortening
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (10 gm/1/3 oz) salt (omit if already in masa mixture)
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (8 gm/¼ oz) baking powder (omit if already in masa mixture)
4 cups (960 ml) (480 gm/17 oz) masa harina (corn tortilla mix), I used instant masa mix
1 ½-2 cups (360 ml – 480 ml) low sodium chicken broth

Directions:

1. Place the dried corn husks in a large pot and cover with water.

2. Place a heavy plate or a smaller pot full of water on top of husks to keep them in the water. Let soak for 3 hours or up to 1 day, flipping occasionally until husks are softened.

3. Once husks are softened, boil chicken about 20 minutes or until fully cooked.

4. Immediately place hot chicken into the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn mixer on high to shred chicken (this takes about 3-5 seconds).

5. Place an oven rack on the top setting. Turn the oven on broil. Peel and rinse the tomatillos.

6. Line a heavy baking sheet with foil. Place tomatillos on baking sheet and place under broiler.

7. Broil (grill) until black spots form on tomatillos, then flip and broil (grill) other side. This takes about 5-10 minutes per side depending on the strength of the broiler.

8. Place roasted tomatillos and juices from the pan into a food processor and allow to cool about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped Serrano chiles and process until smooth.

9. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.

10. Add the tomatillo puree and boil, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes (it should turn thick like a paste).

11. Add in the chicken broth, stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture coats the back of a spoon and is reduced to about a cup (240 ml).

12. Stir in the chicken and cilantro. Salt to taste.

13. Prepare the dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium high heat, cream together the lard or vegetable shortening, baking powder and salt.

Mix in the masa harina, one cup (240 ml) at a time.

14. Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually add in 1 ½ cups (360 ml) of the chicken broth.

15. If the mixture seems too thick (you can taste it for moistness) add up to ½ cup (120 ml) more of the broth 2 tablespoons (30 ml) at a time. (The dough should be a cookie dough like texture).

16. Take 3 large corn husks and tear them into ¼ inch (6 mm) strips. (I would suggest you put these back in the water until use because they dry out and start breaking when you try to work with them.

17. Take a large pot with a steamer attachment. Pour about 2 inches (5 cm) of water into the bottom of the pot, or enough to touch the bottom of the steamer. Line the bottom of the steamer with corn husks.

18. Unfold 2 corn husks onto a work surface. Take ¼ cup (60 ml) of dough and, starting near the top of the husk, press it out into a 4 inch (10 cm) square, leaving 2-3 inches (5 -7½ cm) at the bottom of the husk. Place a heaping tablespoon (15 ml) of the filling in a line down the center of the dough square.

19. Fold the dough into the corn husk.

20. And wrap the husk around the dough.

21. Fold up the skinny bottom part of the husk.

22. And secure it with one of the corn husk ties.

23. Stand them up in the steamer. If there aren’t enough tamales to tightly pack the steamer, place crumpled aluminum foil in the excess space.

24. Steam the tamales for about 40 minutes or until the dough deepens in color and easily pulls away from the husk.


Vegan Black Bean and Green Chile Tamales:


Servings: About 12 tamales

Ingredients
1 – 8 ounce (225 grams) bag dried corn husks

For the filling:
1 – 15.5 ounce (440 gm) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 14 ounce (400 gm) can diced tomato with green chiles, drained
1 – 10 ounce (285 gm) can diced green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (7 gm/¼ oz) garlic salt
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm/ 1/10 oz) ground cumin

For the masa dough:
4 cups (960 ml) (480 gm/17 oz) masa harina (corn tortilla mix), I used instant masa mix
2 ½-3 cups (600-720 ml) vegetable broth
½ cup (120 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1¾ gm) salt

Directions:

1. Follow the directions from the above recipe for soaking the corn husks.
2. Make the filling. Combine all ingredients for the filling in a medium mixing bowl.

3. Make the masa dough. Combine the olive oil, salt and masa mix in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until combined.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add 2 cups (480 ml) of vegetable broth. If the mixture seems to dry (you can taste it for moistness at this point) add more broth 2 tablespoons (30 ml) at a time.

5. Follow the directions in the above recipe for filling and cooking instructions.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

The fillings can be made a day in advance and kept in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

The tamales can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tamales can be made 2 days in advance. Let cool one hour, place in refrigerator in an air tight container.

Additional Information:

Videos on how to wrap tamales:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_yhwPcfX-s&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMmJRFYrrNE&feature=related

Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile

mannadonn
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Epicurious: Green Chile Chicken Tamales / Squidoo: Vegan Black Been & Green Chile Tamales