Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Braised Chicken, Goat Cheese and Corn Tamales

I seem to recall promising to share my recipe for tamales which I made a few weeks ago here. I tend to forget stuff like that sometimes when I have so much stuff going on in my head. I made two different types, one with braised chicken, corn and goat cheese for the filling. The other was filled with a spiced pumpkin puree that was slightly sweetened. I'm going to share the chicken one with you today though.

I was inspired to make them because we read a book in class on the history of Mexican cuisine. The book Que vivan los tamales!: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (Dialogos Series) by Jeffrey M. Pilcher. The book addressed much of the cultural evolution of the cuisine and how at one time much of what we think of as Mexican cuisine, was shunned as being food the natives, whom the Spanish and Spanish descended Creoles found to be uncultured.

Well my version is somewhat authentic in that it uses corn, chilies, chicken and perhaps goat cheese may have been used. Even if it wasn't, it doesn't matter to me as I like it, so here you go. Oh and good grief, just use the lard, it tast
es better and in the whole scheme of things it isn't much.

Braised Chicken, Goat Cheese and Corn Tamales


Aprox. 40 husks
Tamale Filling:
2 tablespoons lard

1 cup small diced white onion
3/4 cup corn kernel, shucked fresh
1/2 cup small diced, green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon
minced serrano pepper
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound braised chicken thigh meat, shredded
1/2 cup diced, roasted, peeled, seeded Anaheim chili peppers
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Tamale Dough:
2/3 cup lard, plus 1/3 cup melted
4 cups masa harina (You can find it in the Hispanic section of the grocery, near the Goya brand items)

1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken stock


1. Separate the dry corn husks into individual pieces and remove any corn silk threads inside the husks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and remove from the heat. Place the separated husks in the water, weight with a large, round baking dish, and cover. Allow the husks to soak for 1 hour.

2.Heat th
e 2 tablespoons of lard in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, corn, and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, serranos, ancho chili powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken, Anaheim peppers, and cilantro, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit until cool enough to handle. When cool, fold in the goat cheese. Set aside.

3.Place the remaining solid lard in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Combine the masa harina and salt in a bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, alternately add the masa harina and chicken stock to the whipped shortening, thoroughly mixing after each addition. Gradually add the melted
lard to the dough mixture with the mixer on medium speed.

4. Place one soaked cornhusk on a flat work surface. Scoop 1/4 cup of the masa batter into the center where the husks join and with the back of a spoon, spread it into a 4-inch square. Place about 1 generous tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the center of the masa. As though wrapping a package, fold the sides of the husk over the filling, then bring the bottom and the top over the filling, overlapping as much as possible to tightly enclose the filling. Wrap a piece of kitchen twine around the middle of the tamale, as though wrapping a present, twisting the twine up and down at the middle to tie around all 4 sides, and knotting the twine at the top.

5. Lay or stand the tamales in a steamer insert 2-inches over a pot of gently boiling water, being careful not to pack them too tightly, then cover with a lid. Steam the tamales for 2 hours, replenishing
the water as needed, so the pot does not go dry. Remove the tamales from the steamer insert and let cool for 10 minutes before handling.

5a. Another alternative for steaming is to take a bamboo steamer and place a few of them at a time in the layers fo the steamer, this works especially well if you only want to steam a few. Follow the timing as per above. See the picture to the side for an example.

6. Unwrap when cool to the touch, serve with sour cream and serve with home-made salsa.

No comments:

Free Blog CounterHandelshaus ...