Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tamales. And Puppies with Limes.

A bit out of the ordinary, compared to my normal posts, but I'm so excited about my adventure in tamales, that I felt I needed to write it down somewhere. So, blog it is. Besides, the puppies like when I make new foods, because Chad insists on feeding them from the table. No, we do not agree on this practice. I'm sure when we have kids, he'll be the one sneaking them bedtime snacks even if they don't finish their dinner...

I'm in love with tamales. Not quite as much as I love chihuahuas. Not quite as much as I love Chad. But enough to try to make them from scratch, despite the time requirements...

I started by slow-cooking the meat. Pork in one crockpot, and chicken in the other.

I seasoned the pork with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, tumeric, and adobo. I seared every side of it to a golden brown in a pan with a bit of olive oil. In the slow-cooker, I added water, a bit of additional seasoning, and some poblano peppers (seeds left in - they weren't very spicy at all).

I let it cook for 6 hours on high, drained the broth (KEEP IT!!!) into a bowl, and shredded the pork. More of all of the same seasonings, and into the fridge.

I seasoned the chicken with adobo, salt, pepper, and chili powder, and seared it in a pan with olive oil as well. The sauce is a mixture of onions (2 whole), tomatillos (10), poblano peppers (2 with seeds), olive oil, and salt - cooked down in a pan until soft. I then put it all in a food processor, with 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 1/4 cup of water - and added it all, chicken & sauce, to the crockpot.

As with the pork, cooked it on high 6 hours, but shredded it in the sauce to soak up a bit more. I then drained the excess (KEEP IT) into a bowl. I seasoned the chicken with garlic powder, more salt, a bit of adobo (also salty) and some ground red pepper, and put it in the fridge as well.

And then I got lazy. The rest of the process of making tamales sounded like a lot of work, and it had already been a long week. So, I made "fake" tamales. Er, "inside-out" tamales. Here we go...

Masa (corn-based stuff used to make tortillas and tamales) - 2 cups, mixed with 2 cups of warm milk and 3 Tbsp melted butter. Add some salt, sugar (2 tsp), a handful-worth of queso fresco, and as much chili powder and ground red pepper as you can handle. Mix it up:

Make it into about 8 cakes, and saute them for about 3.5 minutes on each side - until browned. The cakes should be firm and solid, and no longer "raw" inside. 

THEN came the fun part! I was just making things up at this point - based on what was in the fridge. We needed some sauce, so I mixed up sour cream, an avocado, lime zest, and lime juice. Voila! Avocado lime sour cream sauce (duh). 

While this was all happening, the girls were begging in the kitchen. I thought to myself "I'll fix THEM!" and gave them a lime to play with. Um, they loved it. And fought over it. And squeezed and chewed it to death. At least it got them out of the kitchen....

I slapped some of the chicken meat on top of a corn cake, topped with some chopped tomatoes, and the green sauce (a lot of it - don't worry, it was fat-free sour cream), and dinner was served. Yum!

Aaaaaand, Chad shared some of the chicken with the puppies. Pablo is the toughest to please, and he seemed to approve. I think it's a keeper!  Today I made some real tamales - they turned out great, too. 

I hope you all don't mind the digression from puppy-dom, I might throw in a random blog post here or there. And in all seriousness, they're always involved somehow. Wait until I get the motivation to post about Suvi and Pablo "helping" with the remodel....

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