I’ve been kind of dreading writing this post. I know I haven’t been posting as regularly lately and while I have been extremely busy, and gone most weekends (which is when I work on this blog the most), I’m also trying to decide what I want to become of this blog. I’ve been thinking about it since late last year, and while most of the time I love having a place where I can share recipes and have this creative outlet, I also have started to get slightly frustrated with certain things and I’m wondering whether or not I want to continue it. Nothing is set in stone and I haven’t decided what I want to do just yet, but I thought I’d go ahead and be honest with what I’ve been feeling lately and why I have kind of been MIA.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I went to take my cat, Cooper, down to my parent’s house and spend some time with my brother who lives about 30 minutes away from them. We all went to an early birthday dinner for my brother which was so much fun, and I spent the night hanging out with Rich afterward. The next day I went down to my parent’s and they had me watch an episode of Cook’s Country where they made tamales. They sounded so good that we decided we needed to make them. When I came back the next week to pick up Cooper, we got to work on the tamales. They are pretty labor intensive, but if you have a hand in the kitchen, the process goes pretty fast. We had made two different kinds, poblano and cheese tamales and pork and cheese tamales (those will be posted next week!). They turned out fantastic. These poblano and cheese tamales tasted like chile rellenos, which are no doubt my favorite Mexican dish, ever. Unlike many tamales where the masa is so overwhelming and you maybe get like a teaspoon of the actual filling, these tamales have a seasoned masa dough and are stuffed with chiles and cheese. If you have a weekend free, these are something that you definitely need to try.
- For the seasoning:
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chile powder
- 3/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- For the tamales:
- 2 1/2 cups masa
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 12 Tbsp lard
- 1 1/2 Tbsp seasoning mix
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 3-4 poblanoes, roasted, seeded and stemmed, and cut into thin strips
- 2-3 cups of monterrey jack cheese, finely shredded
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp water
- To make the seasoning, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Place in a small plastic baggie until ready to use.
- For the tamales, begin by soaking the corn husks in water for at least 30 minutes to soften.
- To make the dough, pour the masa and baking powder in a large food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the lard, and pulse a few times until it has been cut in to the flour. Add the water and blend for about 30 seconds or until it forms a soft dough. You may need to add a little more water (no more than 1/4 cup) if the dough seems too dry.
- Portion out the dough onto a clean work surface using a small scoop - you should get about 24 1 1/2 Tbsp portions.
- To assemble, take one corn husk and pat dry. Place the husk on the counter, smooth side up, having the long side straight in front of you. On the top right corner, place one dough portion and spread into a 3 1/2 inch square using an offset spatula or your fingers, the dough should be spread flush to the right side, but leaving about 1/4 inch border on the top.
- Add 3-5 strips of poblano and a small portion of cheese in the middle of the masa. Roll the husk towards the left and over the filling so that the cornmeal mixture surrounds the filling and forms a cylinder. Continue to roll until the tamale has been formed. Fold the excess husk up and leave the top open. Set the tamale seam side down and set aside. Continue with the rest of the dough portions.
- Stack the tamales in groups of 4 or 5 and tie with kitchen twine. In a medium stock pot, add 2 Tbsp of the seasoning mixture then place the tamale bundles (filling side up) in the pot. Fill with about 6 cups of water, leaving about 1 inch from the top of the tamales.
- Bring the tamales to a simmer and cover the pot and let steam for about 30 minutes until the masa dough has set. Remove the tamales carefully from the liquid and place on a serving platter.
- Bring the simmering liquid back to a simmer and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Serve with tamales.
Adapted from Cook’s Country