Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!
I have never made tamales. My knowledge of Mexican food is, well, pretty much nil. I can make nachos and fajitas. And I'm pretty sure the Old El Paso taco-in-a-box mix doesn't count. So it was with a mix of 'ooh, nice!' and trepidation that I started reading up on this month's challenge.
Thanks to the local Latin American food store (thank you, Google and Ottawa Foodies!) and the very helpful man there, I was able to find fresh tomatillos in Ottawa in January, as well as the masa harina (corn tortilla mix) and corn husks.
The tomatillos were charred under the broiler, pureed with garlic and jalapeno peppers, then boiled to reduce the mixture. Turkey stock was added (see last post - I had lots of turkey stock!) and it was again reduced before added shredded turkey and chopped cilantro. That was the filling, and it tasted great!
|Salsa verde. Not the prettiest green color, but yummy.|
|Aren't they cute? Ready for steaming.|
Meanwhile, my brain was running furiously... "put the tamales in a steamer" the recipe said. Okay. Steamer. Hm... a steamer. Right. I don't have one. In fact, I didn't have anything really resembling a steamer. Time to get innovative. The end result consisted of my stock pot, the outside ring of my springform pan, and a sort of hammock made of aluminum foil that we poked with a skewer to let the steam through. Foil wrapped around springform ring seemed to fit snugly in the top of the stock pot. Until I got half the tamales in and it slipped down into the water, giving the tamales a bath. Oops. I fished out the tamales and thought some more.
|Frankensteamer! Be afraid. Be very afraid.|
Forty minutes later we sat around the table and tried the tamales with a side of Spanish rice. They were a bit dry, but tasted delicious. The salsa verde complemented the turkey, and the dough had a nice consistency - I think we just wanted more of the salsa verde. Perhaps I reduced it too far. But, the meal was deemed a success, and one that would be fun to try again and try some variations on. After all, I've still got more of the masa harina. I'll have to use it up somehow.
Maybe with a real steamer next time.