Tamales or Tamal Pie one more way to use lefovers

Tamales or Tamal Pie one more way to use lefovers

It sounds pretty complicated, but once the procedure is down it's simple enough to make a lot to freeze. These freeze and microwave very well.
  • Pork roast (and any veggies you might have cooked with it)
  • Masa flour (any finely ground unsweetened cornbread mix works ok too)
  • Can or two of sweet corn or creamed corn (including the liquid)
  • Yellow onion (dry onion flakes work too)
  • Baking dish (corn husks or banana leaves are traditional but time consuming; foil = dry tamales)
  • Dried poblano peppers (cheaper than canned)
Pre-prep: chop the onion, measure out about 4 cups of masa in a bowl, open the corn, break up the peppers a bit and oil the baking dish (or soak the husks in hot water). Prep: Cook the pork roast with diced veggies (small is good, or use a can of mixed veg) in a big pan. Remove the meat and veggies when done. Do not skim the fat off the top. In a smaller pan cook the peppers in about a cup of the hot broth. Add the onion and cans of corn to the big pan. Cook til the onions are done, keep warm. You can puree this too if you don't want corn bits to show in your masa dough. Put the peppers in a blender. My blender is glass specifically for this reason. Don't fill the blender more than half full of anything hot. Puree the peppers. You may want to salt this, peppers are a bit bland. To the bowl of masa flour add one cup of hot broth. Mix with your hands to get a firm dough about like sugar cookies. It should roll into a ball and press flat without cracking along the edges. Press this in the bottom of your baking dish about 1/8 inch thick. Nothing fancy, just press some chunks randomly in there til the bottom is covered. You might want to press it up the sides too like a pie shell. Cover with a layer of shredded meat and veggies. Then drizzle with the sauce. Put another layer of dough. You can keep layering like this or you can just do it like a pie. If you want to make tamales then you need banana leaves or corn husks, a deep lidded pot and a steaming basket (the kind that rests on the bottom of the pan, opens like a flower). An overturned heat safe bowl and plate work too but can get broken if the water runs out. Put the open steamer in the bottom of the pan. Then pour about 2 inches of water in the pan, cover, bring to boil. Leave at a simmer while preparing tamales. I put two previously soaked husks together, wide ends toward each other, flat on the table. Overlapping at least one inch. Press a golf ball sized hunk of dough onto that leaving at least one inch on each side and about 2.5 inches at each end. You actually roll the dough like a short fat snake so that it will be more of a rectangle when pressed out. Put filling in the center of the flattened dough. Drizzle on some sauce. Pick up the sides of the husks carefully so as not to seperate them. Draw them together so the edges of the dough meet. Hold tightly and roll the joined edges to one side. Twist the ends a bit and fold over so that the weight of the tamal holds it closed. You can tie with string if you want. Place the first tamal in the pan with the folded ends down. Then just stack them all in. Try to criss-cross them layer by layer so there is a bit of space for the hot steam to pass around the tamales. Remember, whatever you put in as filling must be precooked. The steaming only really cooks the dough and heats the food through. Steam them about 1/2 hour. Keep a kettle of hot water ready to add to the pot so it doesn't go dry. After they're cooked you can unwrap them and serve with more sauce or with cheese sauce. Sometimes I chill them then unwrap, slice and heat in a skillet I fried eggs in to serve with the eggs. ::::: Now, with that said I'll tell you that anything can go in this; chili, stew (without broth), cheese, turkey, veggies, rice, etc... Or you can make them dough only. These are great to cut up after chilling and fast fry like fried potatoes. They stick something awful so make sure to use a heavy pan. EDIT: Freezing: I never froze them before cooking so can't vouch for that. But I imagine it would be ok to do that because the dough would cook in the micro. Or you could steam them after they thawed a bit.
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