Back in November, I had an urge to make tamales after finding an Eating Well recipe that looked delicious. I went to several grocery stores over the course of three weeks before I finally found dried corn husks, and then Thanksgiving came, and then the pregnancy made me so sick I took a month off from cooking. While cleaning out the pantry last weekend, I found the corn husks smashed in the back behind a sack of flour, and immediately decided the tamales had to be made!
I knew that because of the steps in the recipe, the assembling of each tamale and cooking time, it would be an all day affair. I followed the recipe exactly as written, only substituting a 15 oz. can of solid pack pumpkin for the frozen squash. In the end, I had close to 30 tamales, with extra filling and masa leftover, so I think this recipe could easily be halved if you are aiming to make 16 tamales. Also, I stuffed my tamales a little full, so I double wrapped each one, I also didn't tie them closed, just packed them snugly so they remained wrapped well. I chose to serve my tamales with guacamole, but you can serve them plain or with sour cream, queso or scrambled eggs, a traditional side.
As I was documenting the tamale making, something tragic happened... my camera fell off the kitchen table and now the lens is stuck. I'm hoping it won't be too costly to repair, but this means I'm back to the kodak easy share point and shoot from the early college years. If I wasn't so eager to blog the awesome recipes I have coming up, I'd hold off, but I'll do my best!
Pumpkin, Black Bean and Goat Cheese Tamales
from Eating Well
4 oz. dried corn husks - This was about 50 of different shapes and sizes
1 3/4 c. masa
1 1/4 c. hot water
1 1/2 c. part skim ricotta
1/4 c. canola oil
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 c. grits or cornmeal
1/2-3/4 c. vegetable stock
1 15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin puree
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained or 2 c. cooked and chilled
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles, drained
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. crumbed goat cheese
Guacamole and lime wedges
Place corn husks in a bowl, fill with hot water and soak for 30 minutes, loosely separating them
Prepare Batter: Put masa and water in a large bowl, stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms (I added another 1/2 c. water as I used instant masa). In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat ricotta, oil, baking powder and salt. Beat in grits/cornmeal, then add masa mixture until incorporated, add stock until batter is smooth and spreadable, but not runny.
Prepare filling: Pour pumpkin into a strainer and set to drain, gently pressing to release water. Pour into a bowl, add black beans and drained chiles, stir and season with salt.
Assemble tamales: Drain water from husks, gently pat dry with a towel. Place a steamer basket in a large pot, fill with water just to the stop of the steamer. Spread 1/3 c. masa into the center of the husk, spoon 2 tbsp. filling in and sprinkle with goat cheese, fold the sides in then roll from the bottom. Place the tamale seam side down into the steamer basket, repeat with remaining husks.
Cover the pot and place on a burner over high, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Set a kitchen timer for 60 minutes, and check tamales for water often. (I refilled my water 2 times to make sure there was always enough).
Use tongs to remove from the pot, masa should be firm and pulling away from husks.
Serve with guacamole, if desired.
Store leftover tamales in a tupperware still in husks. To reheat, steam for 10 minutes.
Leftovers are good for 2-3 days.
L - Masa, R - Filling, C - Goat Cheese
Note: I used an offset icing spatula for spreading masa
Corn husks and steamer
Filling a tamale
Cooked tamales, still in husks. Tying a knot to hold them together is optional if wrapped tightly.