Northwest NEWS

September 17, 2001

Home & Garden


Dining In

Tamal Azteca
   16 4-inch tortillas
   1/4 c. corn oil (divided use)
   1/2 c. onion, diced
   2 garlic cloves, minced
   3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (discard skins)
   1/2 tsp. salt
   2 Tbsp. butter
   3 small zucchinis, diced
   2 c. corn kernals, drained
   1 c. cooked chicken, shredded
   1 c. crema Mexicanna or sour cream
   2 roasted Poblano chiles, peeled, stems removed, cut into strips
   1-1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
   To make the tortilla, follow the directions on the Maseca package, stack, and cover with a cloth napkin until ready to assemble tamale.
   Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in a skillet and saute the onion until translucent. Add garlic, tomato, and salt. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or until tomato sauce thickens slightly, stirring often. Reserve.
   Preheat the oven to 350.
   In a small casserole, heat the butter. Add zucchini and corn, stir to coat. Add 2 Tbsp. water and simmer for about 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Reserve.
   In another skillet, heat the rest of the oil and fry tortillas on both sides. To assemble, place a tortilla at the bottom of each cazuelita or individual casserole, moisten with the tomato sauce, and layer chicken, vegetables, crema, chiles and cheese. Repeat layers and finish with a tortilla and a sprinkling of cheese. Place the casseroles or dishes on a cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and cook until cheese melts, about 15 minutes.
   Makes 4 tamales.
   Tamal Liviano
   One 3-1/2 - 4 lb. chicken, cut in quarters
   1 Tbsp. salt
   1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
   1/2 tsp. dried thyme
   1/2 tsp. rosemary
   1/4 tsp. cumin powder
   1/4 tsp. coriander seeds
   For the tamale dough:
   4-1/2 c. Corn Masa Flour
   1 tsp. salt (optional)
   2-1/2 c. mashed potatoes
   5-7 c. water or chicken broth
   For the filling:
   11 c. cooked brown rice
   3 large carrots, peeled and cut in thin strips
   1 can (8 oz.) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and well drained
   1 c. canned green peas
   1/2 c. raisins
   1/2 c. pitted green olives
   Cilantro sprigs
   Place the chicken parts in a heavy casserole and add salt, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, cumin powder and coriander. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Gently bring to a boil, skim, turn down heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until chicken is tender enough to fall off the bones. Strain and reserve cooking liquid for the masa flour. Allow chicken to cool slightly and discard bones and skin. Shred the chicken and set aside.
   To make tamale dough, place the masa flour, salt and mashed potatoes in the bowl of an electric mixer equipped with a dough hook. Mix masa flour and mashed potatoes. Measure 7 cups of the chicken's cooking liquid, adding water if necessary. Gradually add the liquid to form a soft, pliable dough. Or place the masa flour and mashed potaotes in a large bowl. Gradually add water and mix with a wooden spoon. Turn onto a floured counter and knead by hand for about 2 minutes.
   To assemble:
   20 banana leaves or aluminium foil
   Heavy string
   Put all filling ingredients in bowls and set on the counter to make assembly easier.
   Cut the banana leaves (or foil) into 10-inch squares. Wipe the banana leaf with a clean damp cloth and lay it lengthwise on your work surface, with the grain running from left to right. Mound about 4 tablespoons of tamale dough in the center of the square; top with some shredded chicken, a heaping tablespoon of cooked rice, a few strips of carrot and pepper, a teaspoon of garbanzo beans, a few peas, raisins, olives and a cilantro sprig. As if wrapping a gift, fold the top down over filling, press lightly, then press the bottom up to cover. Fold the ends towards the center and turn the tamal over. Again, as if wrapping a gift, tie the taml securely with the string. Repeat with remaining filling and banana leaves.
   Arrange a steamer in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Fill with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a boil (the water should not touch the steamer). Place the tamales upright in the steamer and steam until heated through and firm, or about 1 hour.
   Serve tamales wrapped.
   Makes 18-20 tamales.