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December 31, 2010

Turkey Tomatillo Tamales

Again, pictures from my phone. I'll never ever do it again, I promise...

Tamales! I've always wanted to make them and when Heavy Table posted this recipe last year, I knew that someday I'd have to do this myself...I've eaten La Loma's tamales and they're wonderful so it's been bookmarked forever and I finally made them yesterday with the leftover turkey from this post.

To be fair, this recipe is unusually vague and so I had to consult my Rick Bayliss cookbook, Mexico One Plate At A Time, for some pointers. If you don't own it, check it out. Every recipe I've tried from here has been a hit!

Also, the recipe says it makes 30 tamales and it made about 50 for us and I'm pretty sure we overfilled them since a few were leaking out the top...

The nice thing about tamales is that they're actually really easy to make and pretty adaptable. Every family, I'm told, has a different recipe and everyone thinks theirs is the best so have fun, experiment and make your own.

Also, get a friend to help you because the assembly is a lot more fun when you have a friend. Shellville, my trusty cooking cohort and author of The Road to Shellville helped me. I love her for it! (and many other reasons, of course...)

One other thing - if you like sauce on the side or on top afterwards, DOUBLE THE SAUCE RECIPE! I really wish I would've because I could have had some on the side or saved for enchiladas...

Turkey Tomatillo Tamales
Yield: 50 tamales
Approximately 3 lbs of  turkey left over from this recipe, shredded
(You can also just cook your own chicken or even use a rotisserie...)

2 ½ lbs tomatillos, skin removed and quartered
8 jalapeno peppers, stems removed, cut into chunks
1 medium white onion
4 cloves garlic
Chicken bouillon to taste - (This instruction left me wondering if they meant just the boullion cube or in liquid form or what...I chose to throw in a cube and then added enough water so that my total sauce was 40 oz.)
Boil the tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, onion, and garlic in water until cooked, about 5 mn. 
Discard the water and process the sauce ingredients in a blender with the chicken bouillon.

Add 12 oz of the sauce to the shredded chicken; set the remainder aside for use in the following dough preparation.

Tamale Dough
1 ½ lbs dried corn husks for tamales, picked clean of stringy fibers
4- 5 cups chicken broth, to reach desired consistency
1.5 tsps baking powder
28 oz green sauce (from recipe above)
1 lb lard or crisco (we had crisco although I'm sure lard would make a much better flavor)

1. Soak the corn husks in hot water for 10-20 minutes, wash them and allow them to drain.

2.Mix the masa and baking powder together - add broth, green sauce and lard or crisco until the mixture resembles that of cake batter.

3. Into each tamale wrapper, spread 1/4 cup of the masa dough and on top of that, place 1-2 Tbsp of meat mixture and wrap with the corn husk, folding the bottom up or tying with a strip of wrapper. More detailed instructions can be found here.

4. After all tamales are assembled, place them upright (closed end down) in a 20-qt tamalera(tamale steamer) or a really large pot. I ended up using my Ball Canning Bath with the steamer handles flipped under and the top lined with leftover corn husks. Pour about a cup of water into the pot and Steam for two hours; making sure to check that the water doesn't evaporate. Keep a small pot with simmering water next to the steamer so that you can refill it if needed (I needed to twice).

5. After they're done steaming, let them sit at least 15 minutes and then warm up if you're eating them immediately. Otherwise, they can be refrigerated and re-steamed (or microwaved) within 3 days or frozen and saved for up to 3 months. 

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