Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekend Cook: Molly Tamale, part 2

It takes some time to make tamales, but if you think of it as a way to use up leftovers it's worth the while. This recipe serves 2, and made 7 modest tamales. The Food Network recipe I adapted is here.

First, pour boiling water over rinsed dried corn husks and weight them down so they remain submerged. The thinner ones will be pliable in an hour, the thicker ones will take two hours.

One and a half TB of butter, 1/4 cup plus 1 TB of cold duck fat in a mixer.

In a separate bowl, whisk together: 3/4 cup masa harina, 2/3 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. Adobo seasoning. Set aside.

On "high" whip the fats until they are milky white and smooth (about 5 minutes).

Add one small can of Ortega mild chilies, diced.

It's a mess. For the rest of the recipe you will need 2/3 cup of water.

Add the dry mixture three tablespoons at a time alternately with the same amount of water.

(If you've ever made Whoopie Pies or certain cakes, you've already got this technique down.) Dry ingredients make the mix pasty. Liquid is added to bring it back to a batter consistency. It is done when all the dry mix is incorporated, and water is added as the final addition until the batter is the consistency of stiff frosting. I had water left over.

Drain the husks and shake dry. Lay one down and smear on a line of 3 tablespoons of mix near one edge. Top that with the duck from yesterday (about 2 - 3 tablespoons in volume). Roll into a tamale shape.

I turned under both ends of these tamales, but it is not necessary. One end folded under to keep it from unraveling will do. I put them in my bamboo steamer.

They cooked at a full simmer for 2 hours.

Tamales are done when the husk separates from the dough.

(I saved this tamale to photograph in the daylight)

The just-cooked tamales were the texture of really moist cake, and ducky - no point covering the flavor of duck with too many spices. The leftover tamale was dryer and slightly mealy in texture, but still held its flavor. They were nothing at all like Monica's.

The mild salsa, made in Vermont, is Candeleros Southwestern Grill Spring Fling Lime Salsa. It spoils quickly after opening the jar, so I freeze it in small one-cup containers.