My partner being gone for a week, I needed to make something really cool to make him wish he was back home. Wait, that sounds mean. Actually, I was reading a book for my comps, I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, in which there are many, many references to tamales and I got the clever idea of making tamales–because who doesn’t want homemade tamales. Besides, I froze a bunch for him. FYI, tamales freeze very well in air-tight baggies.
Since sweetcorn was in season, I decided to add freshly cut cut to the masa, and I used green chilies and black beans for filling. I did not make my own masa but used a mix, which was fine, especially since it takes a lot of time to make tamales. I followed the recipe on the back of a bag of Maseca Corn Masa Flour for Tamales and adjusted it as needed. Since I was planning on sharing with a vegetarian friend, I refrained from the chicken broth (and the chicken), though that would have been tasty.The smell of these steaming away in the kitchen was amazing. I want to try some other ones, namely butternut squash with raisins and pine nuts. And, I really, really want to serve these with mole. Here’s an Tamales 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Traditional Tamales that one can follow or use as a springboard to more personalized tamales. The best part of this excellent cookbook is that the authors really cover the diversity and regionality of tamales. Ingredients 6 cups Maseca Corn Masa for tamales (add 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh cut sweet corn for texture) 6 cups Chicken broth OR veggie broth OR water
1 cup cooking oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 large rotisserie chicken OR can black beans and can green chilies, sliced
2 cans salsa verde (homemade is best)
1 bag corn husks
1. Cover and Soak the corn husks in warm water until soft.
2. Blend with an electric mixer Maseca corn masa for tamales, corn oil, salt, baking powder and water to obtain a consistent mixture.
3. Drain black beans and chilies.
4. Spread masa evenly over corn husks, and spread a spoonful of beans/chilies on top of the masa.
5. Fold the sides of the cornhusk to center over the masa so that they overlap to make along package.
6. Fold the empty part of the husk under so that it rests against the side of the tamale with a seam.
7. Place the tamales in tamale steamer and cook tamales for 35-40 minutes. Since I did not have a “tamale” pot or a very tall steamer, I just used my biggest pot and tucked a double-ply clean dishtowel (not the fuzzy kind) around the top to hold in the steam. It worked fine. Check every 20 minutes.