Friday, October 8, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 31

Another week has rolled by and I still haven't posted about my Expo visit, but I have been sewing. I've picked up some of my UFO (unfinished objects) dresses from my SWAP plan and been fitting in a few seams here and there.

On the cooking front I made beans again this week, it really seems to please my husband..he loves beans, but you know the problem with too many beans!!! I think I will lay off them for a bit. I made a big pot and made a tamale pie for use on Monday and made tamales as well and then froze them and they were eaten on Thursday night. Tuesday was leftover Tamale pie and Wednesday for a change I made Spaghetti Carbonara. I'm really trying to be better at multi-function dishes, as I'm  finding that making a full meal from scratch every night is really hard now that I'm not home all day. I had some chicken carcasses in the freezer, so I made a batch of chicken stock on Sunday night and used some to make the masa dough for the tamale pie and tamales, as well as for the spaghetti dish. I also now have some lovely stock in the freezer for use with the stuffing and gravy for the Thanksgiving turkey this weekend. Making homemade stock is super simple, just load chicken carcass with some meat attached into the crock pot with whatever vegetables you have on hand and cook long on low. When I woke up in the morning the house smelt fragrant and yummy and the stock just had to be strained and cooled. I wrote down the ingredients for this batch, so I will share after the tamale recipes.


This recipe can be broken into two parts, the filling and the masa dough. Since the Cafe World version is vegetarian, I opted to make mine with beans, but ground meat, chicken or anything else is great too.


1/2 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup frozen corn
28 oz (796ml) canned tomato
1/2 bell pepper
2 19oz (540ml) cans beans, I used red kidney and black beans
chilli powder, to taste
oregano and cumin, about a tsp each
1/4 cup black olives
salt and pepper

Cook onion and garlic until softened. Add diced bell pepper, cook for two minutes. Add rest of ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

Masa dough:

2 cups masa (I used Maseca brand)
2 cups warm chicken broth or water
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup lard or shortening
2 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Combine masa, baking powder, salt and chili powder, add broth and combine with fingers or a fork. In a separate bowl, beat lard/shortening till fluffy. Add to masa mix and beat till it has a spongy texture.

Tamale Pie:

Place filling into a casserole dish and top with masa dough. Bake at 350F until masa topping browns slightly and filling bubbles. You can top with some grated cheese during the last minutes of baking.


Soak dried corn husks in water to soften and then dry. Spread some masa dough on husk and top with a line of the topping. Fold over husks, encapsulating the filling in the dough and tie with kitchen twine or whatever will work for you. A few tricks I learnt here...using the bigger corn husks works better or you might need to use two husks to cover a tamale, use your hand to form and flatten the dough on the husk, it seemed to work better for me. Let your filling cool a bit before working with it, I found mine was initially too hot and was melting the shortening in the dough and made things really difficult. My tamales weren't pretty as you can see in the photo, but they tasted great and that counts more in my opinion.

I read that tamales freeze really well, so I placed mine in the freezer and steamed them two nights later from the frozen state. I used a bamboo steamer in a few inches of water in a pan. You need to keep adding water as you will steam the tamales for about 90 minutes. Open and enjoy!!

Chicken stock recipe:

1 lb chicken carcass
1 large onion quartered with skin on
4 carrots washed and cut in 4
1 garlic clove
small handful of black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
few sprigs of fresh parsley
water to fill crock pot and cover ingredients

Place all ingredients in a large crock pot, cover with water and cook on low for 10 hours to 24 hours. I either make at night and strain the next morning or I make in the morning and strain at night. I use a cheesecloth lined sieve over a large bowl to strain my broth, I then let it cool and usually fill a few ice trays, for smaller quantities of broth for sauces or I have 1 litre containers for larger quantities for soups.

Next up: It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, have a great weekend Canadian readers, so I will share a stuffed turkey and I made Vampire Staked Steak tonight, so that will be included as well.

Progress: 56/80

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