Friday, May 15, 2015

Triple-Cheesy Tamales

This is the tamale version of a grilled-cheese sandwich.  It was coming up on Cinco de Mayo and I had various things in the middle drawer that were going to go bad if I didn't do something with them.  The little bits only added up to enough for ten tamales, but that was all the corn husks I had left in the bag, so it worked out well.

I know, you're probably thinking it's not worth the effort for only ten tamales, but it wasn't a big deal.  Wrapping dozens of the things is a chore.  This was just like a more elaborate than usual dinner.  If I had done the beans out of the can instead of making not-refried from scratch, the active work time would have been about half an hour.

1 C masa harina
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika or chili powder
1 C low-salt vegetable broth
*1/4 C cream cheese
*2 oz crumbled feta cheese
*1/2 C shredded cheddar
1  Roma tomato, diced
10-12 corn husks

1.  An hour before starting, soak the husks in boiling water.  Leave them in there to soften until needed.

2.  In a bowl, stir together masa flour, baking powder, salt, cumin, and paprika.  Stir in vegetable broth to make a paste.  In another bowl or stand mixer with the paddle, beat cream cheese until soft.  Beat in feta crumbles.  Add masa and beat until smooth.

3.  In another bowl (or wash out the first one and dry it), toss together the tomato and cheddar.  If desired, set aside some of the cheddar for later as garnish.  I had an extra small tomato off the plant and used that for garnish as well.  Oh, and some cilantro.  And Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

4.  Set up your steamer pot.  There should be an inch of water in the bottom and a steamer basket or colander should fit securely inside the rim.  Get the water simmering while you assemble the tamales.

5.  Lay a corn husk on a kitchen towel, pointy side toward you.  Spread about 3 Tb masa mix in center, then spoon 1 Tb of tomato mix on top.  Fold in the sides, fold up the point, and if you don't trust it to hold together use a strip of husk to tie it shut.  Place in basket, open side up, and move on to the next.

6.  When the masa, filling, and husks are all used up, place basket over the now lightly-boiling water.  Cover with a towel, put the lid on the pot, and steam for 90 minutes.  Check the water level every half hour or so.  Allow tamales to set and cool for about 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish as desired.

Difficulty rating :-0

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