Sunday, December 2, 2012

That little old tamale maker, me

Oh but I love tamales.  Well made tamales that have flavorful masa, unique and interesting combinations of fillings, steamed to perfection and served with a sauce that is piquant, spicy and oh so heavenly.  The world of tamales is a lot more than the ones in the cans (YUCH) or the ones that are available at most Mexican food restaurants, purveyors of Hispanic foods and most every kitchen in the Southwest this time of year.  I guess that the typical pork, beef, green corn ones are okay, but i love to make and eat ones that break the culinary traditions.  I have always done that type of thing, and yeah, people have told me that I am crazy.  I don't care.  I like to do things like make Spanish rice with short grain brown rice, spread it on a sheet of seaweed, place shrimp, avocados, green onions and then roll it up sushi style and serve with hot sauce and chipotle paste and call it Mexican Sushi.  Some say that is odd, I say, "If it tastes good, enjoy it!"  So some of the cool non-traditional tamales that I have made in the past at home and at tamale class I held back at Austin Healthy Cooking.  I had a few die hard friends take the class at the beginning of December 2 years ago, then sign up and take it again with friends a week later.  We made smoked salmon tamales, mushrooms cooked in sherry tamales, candied citrus peel with brie and avocado tamales, and dried cherry, pineapple and pecan tamales.  I also make my world famous pork carnitas tamales where I marinate the pork roast in guajillo chilies, coffee and cumin for two days, then pressure cook in beer.  Take the liquid and refrigerate overnight before making the tamales, and the pork fat that rises to the surface you can use to make the masa.

 Today I just used leftover free range turkey from Thanksgiving, cooked some with green chilies and onions.  I took the bones and made a nice stock and used the stock to make the masa so that it had a nice flavor as well.  It is all pretty easy, soak some corn husks overnight in water, then drain.  Take 4 cups masa, add 1 tablespoon baking powder, a teaspoon sea salt, and mix in a half cup coconut oil.  (I use this as it gives great results)  Mix and add enough stock to make a paste.  Spread a 1/3 cup masa on a corn husk and spread it out thinly. 

 Add a couple tablespoons filling, cheese if desired, then bring the thin edge over to the wide wrapper side and make sure that the masa touches to seal in the filling. 

Stack into steamer and cover with extra corn husks so condensation won't drip onto the tamales.  Then steam for an hour and a half.  Serve them up and you won't ever buy plain old tamales again.  they aren't that hard to make and the flavor is incredible.

And then try something unique.  These pictured are made with that Turkey, green chilies, onions, and garlic.  I made some others with a finely diced butternut squash that I sauteed in olive oil then when good and browned, added a diced apple and some nice red curry.  I then added a can of coconut cream and cooked until it was all thick.  Added a handful of raisins and filled some tamales where the masa had curry in it for flavor.  Yummy.

1 comment:

  1. Roy, we generally try to make a German tamale eah year along with the regular turkey ones. We leave the masa plain, no adobe sauce in it, but add diced pimentos and black olives. then the filling is saurakraut with caraway seeds, and beer brat sausage cooked and ground up. Then shreded smoked gouda cheese. Wrap and steam as ususal. Evelyn's family timidly tried it the first time now we make several dozen each year.