Spicy Mushroom Tamales

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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4 oz dried corn husks

1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening (to 2/3 cup), chilled

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups coarse-ground masa for tamales (or 1 3/4 cups dried masa harina for tamalesĀ  mixed with 1 cup plus 2 TBSP)

2/3 cup cool chicken broth- plus up to 1/3 cup for optional second beating

salt, up to 2 tsps

2 round ripe tomatoes

3 fresh poblano chiles

1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oi

1 Tbsp white onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried thyme

4 cups sliced, stemmed mushrooms (shiitakes, chanterelles, or any wild mushroom)


Recipe Instructions

In a large pot, bring the corn husks to a boil in water to cover, then weight them with a plate to keep them submerged and let stand an hour or so. With an electric mixer, beat the chilled lard with the baking powder until light in texture, about 1 minute. Continue beating as you add the masa in three additions. Slowly pour in a generous 1/2 cup of the broth, beating all the while. Continue beating for another minute, until a 1/2 teaspoon dollop of the batter floats in a cup of cold water. Beat in enough additional broth to give the mixture the consistency of soft (not runny) cake batter; it should softly hold its shape in a spoon. Season with salt, usually 1 scant teaspoon, taste and reseason if necessary.

For the lightest texture tamales, refrigerate the batter for an hour or so, then rebeat, adding enough additional liquid to bring the mixture to the consistency it had before.

Preheat broiler and set rack 4 inches from flame. Place tomatoes on baking sheet and roast until blackened and blistered on one side, about 6 minutes; flip and roast other side. Peel and roughly chop, collecting all the juices with the tomatoes. Set aside.

Roast the chilies directly over a gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes on open flame or 10 minutes for broiler. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Peel, pull out the stems and seed pod, then rinse briefly to remove bits of skin and seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch strips. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until nicely browned but still a little crunchy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs, toss a minute longer, then stir in the chilies, tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook, stirring regularly, until everything is reduced to a thick mixture that easily holds it shape in a spoon, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, to taste, about 1 teaspoon, and cool.

Pick out 16 nice corn husks for forming the tamales, then use 2/3 of the remaining to line steamer (you’ll need one that’s at least 4 inches deep — a Mexican tamale steamer or vegetable steamer in a deep pot); fill the bottom of the steamer with 1 to 2 inches of water. Tear 16 long, 1/4-inch wide strips of corn husks for tying the tamales.

One by one form the tamales: Lay the husk in front of you, lightly dry it, then spread about a scant 1/4 cup of the batter into a 4-inch square, leaving at least a 1 1/2-inch border on the pointy end of the husk, a 3/4-inch border along other sides. Spoon a good 2 tablespoons of the filling down the center of the batter. Pick up the two long sides of the husk and bring them together (this will cause the batter to roll around the filling, enclosing it.) Roll the flaps of the husk in the same direction around the tamales. If husk is not big enough, wrap in another piece as well. Fold up pointed end and secure by tying with long strips of husk. Set in steamer folded-side down. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, steam husks 1 to 1 1/4 hours, making sure the water is at a steady boil and never runs out.

This recipe yields 16 servings.


From cookingindex.com