Sunday Dinner – Tamales with Salsa Verde


As we all have varied shares this week with many different veggies, I thought I’d focus my attention on something that I know we all received an abundance of.  Yes, my Fellow Springdellians, I’m talking about corn! 

The corn we’ve received is a no-brainer recipe-wise. We all can boil it, steam it, grill it, and a big majority of folks like it!  I received 2 dozen in my share box this week, and saw some in the swap box that also came home with me. Most of the corn (that wasn’t immediately devoured) is now in the freezer, waiting to inject a little summertime into the winter season.    

With all the shucking, I looked at the giant mound of husks awaiting my compost bin and thought about our notion of “no veggie left behind”. What about the rest of the corn? We enjoy the kernels, and often all else gets tossed by the wayside… Perhaps there is a better way.   

Enter, the tamale!

imageFor those that don’t know, a tamale is usually a corn flour roll with meat/ cheese/veggies/fruit filling, and wrapped in a corn husk/banana leaf, and steamed/boiled. Tonight’s dinner was a total gamble. I have never before made tamales and had no idea where to start.  Those that know how to make these will possibly be offended by my novice knowledge of tamales – (please forgive my ignorance and do feel free to school me in the comments)!  However, I was so inspired to use as much of my corn as I could, the research began. I decided to make a meat version and a veggie version, adapted from multiple recipe sites, including more authentic, and more fusion.  

imageMost tamale recipes out there call for dried corn husks, which are available commercially. I’ve learned (the hard way) husks can be tricky to dry at home. You then rehydrate the commercial husks by soaking them for a couple of hours before use. I was committed to try use the fresh husks from our lovely Springdell corn instead.  I shucked corn last night and let the husks soak in cool water overnight, so that they’d remain pliable when working with them today.  It worked beautifully!

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Snipping the bottom of the corn husk just below the beginning of the cob was a great way to pull the leaves off without tearing them.

imageI initially was hoping to use my remaining corn flour from the Springdell Winter CSA, but quickly realized that the corn flour needed for tamales (aka Masa), was a different entity as masa goes through a process involving hydrated lime.  Masa is available in supermarkets, usually in 5 pound bags, and can be used for making not only tamales, but also homemade tortillas, empanadas, and all kinds of other yummy looking things I have yet to encounter.  I grabbed a bag of masa and decided to save the corn flour for another recipe (soon!)

Most authentic tamale recipes involved lard, however I learned from fellow food blogger Hilah that coconut oil can work as an acceptable substitute.  Instead of water, I used veggie broth for a bit of extra flavor when mixing the masa.

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I mixed up the masa the night before, and also began to slow cook a pork shoulder roast the night before.  It was rubbed with chili powder and dried oregano,  seared quickly on all sides, and placed in the slow cooker with some minced garlic and springdell onions.  

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After a good night’s sleep, I awoke to meat that I could shred easily with a fork. 

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I put some masa in the corn husk, along with meat or slivers of havarti cheese in the center.

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Next, I rolled it closed, folded the pliable end upward, and tied it shut with a small sliver of corn husk. So far, so good!

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My little tamales are ready to steam, and the corn husks looked quite happy partying in the steamer (for just about 90 minutes).  

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I decided to make a simple salsa verde from Community Garden jalapeños and the tomatillos from the share box.

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The husks and stems were removed and they boiled for about 10 minutes, just until they were soft.  I then drained them.  

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A trip through the blender with a clove of garlic, salt and pepper, and it was ready to return to the saucepan. I melted a teaspoon of coconut oil in the bottom of the saucepan before adding the salsa, and cooked it for a few minutes past the boil.

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Easy and a spicy fresh tasting accompaniment for the tamales.

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There you have it, my first attempt at tamales!

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After the husks were removed, I drizzled with the salsa verde. The Sunday Dinner Crew all agreed that the taste imparted from the fresh corn husk was quite nice! Next time, I’ll opt to add more filling and maybe make the layer of masa a little thinner.

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For dessert, we enjoyed this peach ice cream. I was so involved with the tamales, that this was the only photo I had taken. An “oops” moment here at CSA365…

This dinner would not have been possible without help from my fellow food bloggers! Special thanks to Hilah over at HilahCooking for inspiration with the masa mix (and the idea to use coconut oil)!  Special thanks to Sandy over at Easy Cooking with Sandy for sharing her grandmother’s recipe for tamales and the green salsa verde.

Thanks for reading this evening’s post!  Tomorrow, Sarah will be bringing us a dish for Meatless Monday, and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday.  Sweet and savory dreams, my friends!

 


About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A long time member of Springdell and a busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food.

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