Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stock your Freezer with Tamales

I got that nesting urge this morning! Baby Wyatt is on the way, and my freezer needs to be stocked!!
 I started by hydrating 2 cups of texturized soy protein (TSP); I spiced it up with chili powder, cumin, smoked salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and cayenne pepper.
 I then began to sauté every "must go" veggie in the fridge; onions and peppers mostly, some tomatoes. I added these to my hydrated TSP and then decided to make two dishes from it. After all, how much taco meat does a family need. I made half of it into a chili by simply adding canned beans and crushed tomatoes. I found a Mexican simmer sauce deep in the pantry and added about half of this to it (the other half into the remaining meat mixture). Into the freezer that went, labeled: Veggie Chili- Serve over rice, over nachos, in burritos or add more beans and serve with green onions, sour cream and cheese. I need to be very specific since someone else might be thawing and preparing meals ( Daddy!).
What to do with the other half of the taco meat mixture..? I continued to raid the pantry, then freezer, for other ideas. I found frozen corn husks and masa harina!!! Perfect!! I was going to make tamales, I just happened to have a recipe all written up from the Market District May Newsletter 2011!!!
I don't have a recipe for the veggie taco filling I used ( you can see how that would be difficult to document since I started with no plans to make a tamale filling). The filling is the easy part though, and you can really use anything. I have done roasted peppers with a hunk of  jack cheese (rajas con queso). Very easy.
This recipe includes how to make pork or chicken filling, and it can certainly be made ahead of time to break up the work.
Give it a try!!

Makes: 18 tamalesPrep Time: 1 hourCook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:18 dried corn husks
Soak and clean corn husks in hot water for at least 30 minutes or until soft; drain and set aside.
For the meat filling:
1.5 lbs.  pork roast or chicken breast
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1/2 cup chicken broth, divided
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Olive oil Spray
Place pork roast or chicken in a shallow glass baking dish and rub with spices, brown sugar, onion and 1/2 cup of broth; cover with aluminum foil and marinate for 30 minutes in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Bake pork or chicken covered for 45-50 minutes until temperature is 160˚F for pork/165F for chicken. Remove from oven and let stand 20 minutes. Shred using 2 forks and return to pan with juices to coat
For the masa:
4 cups instant corn masa mix or masa harina
1 tsp. Giant Eagle garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup frozen white corn, thawed
3/4 cup canola oil

3 3/4 cups chicken broth
Prepare masa while meat is roasting. In a large bowl, mix together masa harina, salt, garlic powder and baking powder. Place corn, oil and 1cup broth in a blender and process until smooth. Stir into masa harina, and mix until a smooth dough is formed, adding remaining broth.

Set up a station- Place meat, prepared masa, husks and pot with steamer insert nearby. Add enough water to pot to just reach bottom of insert. Line steamer basket with 1 or 2 kitchen towels if desired, to absorb condensation and prevent sogginess.
Working with one softened husk at a time, open to flatten and place a heaping 1/4 cup of masa dough onto center of the husk, about 1/2 inch from the top of the husk. Spread or press dough into a 4×3 inch rectangle using a flat spatula or clean fingers.
Place a heaping tablespoon or two of filling down middle of dough.
Fold one end of the husk over tamale to cover filling, enclosing the filling. 

The masa should wrap around the filling
Tuck the back end of the husk forward, enclosing the tamale.
 Fold over to form a tight and neat rectangle (top of tamale will be open).

Place tamales open side up in the prepared steamer insert. Cover and steam for 55-60 minutes. Let tamales rest at lest 15 minutes before serving. Check water near the end to make sure the pot does not burn/dry out.
  Serve hot with lime wedges and hot sauce. Add other toppings such as salsa, sour cream and chopped cilantro if desired.


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