So we know we haven’t posted for a while, but it’s not that we’ve not been cooking- we’ve just not had time to get blogging. So we have quite a backlog of recipes and photos that we’ve been waiting to tell you all about.
So… way back in May We made tamales and deviled avocados for Cinco de Mayo which were super yummy. The tamales take a little bit of prep time but they’re not too complicated. The recipe for both the tamales and filling are from Lupe Pintos ‘Two Cooks and a Suitcase’.
First you have to hard boil the eggs. There is a technique to this and it is not “put it in boiling water for half an hour, I don’t know, whatever”.
To get perfect hard boiled eggs do the following:
Put the eggs in the pot. Add water until the eggs are submerged an inch below the water. Add salt and vinegar, a dash of each. The salt increases the boiling point of the water (he says to a chorus of “duhs”) and the vinegar keeps the yolk from dissipating if the egg cracks- devil magic.
Turn up the heat to high, until the water has been boiling for about a minute with big old bubbles, not the small ones like in your sody pop. Then take them off the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Add cold water in the sink until they are cool enough to peel. Done and dusted, easy peasy, etc.
Now peel them, snappish. Cut them in half and take out the yolk which should be a sunny yellow and not a dull green if you did the boiling right. Put all the yolks in a bowl with the mayo, mustard, vinegar, celery, salt & pepper. Mix it all up. You can do this with a mixer if you have one. Spoon the devil-mixture back into the eggs.
Cut the avocados in half and remove the egg. Plant it if you wish. Remove the flesh from the skin. The easiest way to do this is with a spoon, the hardest is with a fire extinguisher. Spoon some eggs into the holes, as in the pic below. Sprinkle some Old Bay on those bitches. Eat.
ALTERNATIVE: Skip spooning the yolk into the white and go straight for the avocado. GET CREATIVE! Or else.
When we cooked these we didn’t have any access to corn husks or banana leaves usually used to wrap up the tamales to allow steam into the dough, so we had to resort to using tinfoil. While not ideal our cookbook reminded us that ‘ Tinfoil tamales are better than no tamales!’ They’re also a lot less fiddly and easier to handle if you’re trying them out for the first time, and to freeze.
Allow a bit of time to make this (filling takes an hour to simmer, and the tamales themselves will take another 45 mins to an hour to steam). We recommend making the filling first and while it’s simmering you can prepare the tamale wrappers.
Filling: Oaxaca style Mexican Chile
Oil for frying
500g pork diced
2 medium onions finely chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed
4 tomatoes roasted and sieved or alternatively ready-made passata
150ml fresh orange juice
1 bay leaf
1 tsp oregano
2 Ancho chiles (remove pulp)
3 Guajillo chiles
(Don’t fret too much if you can’t find the right chiles- we’ve tried it with 3 rehydrated chipotle chiles instead of the two above and it was delicious)
2tbsp toasted breadcrumbs
a handful of crushed tortilla chips
25g toasted almonds
2tsp sesame seeds
3 cooking chorizo sausages chopped and sauteed
500g of cooked black beans
Saute the garlic and onions in olive oil until soft.
Add the pork and brown well.
Add the tomatoes, orange juice, spices, vinegar and chillies and simmer for 45 mins until the pork is tender.
In a food processor blend the breadcrumbs, tortilla chips, almonds, sesame seeds until you get a fine crunchy mix.
Add the crunchy mix, chorizo and black beans to the tomato-pork mixture.
Simmer for a further 15 mins to blend the flavours.
200g Masa Harina (finely ground maize flour for mexican stuff. It tastes a bit limey. Available from (my local) Sainsbury’s)
100g butter melted
250ml chicken stock
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt & peps
A load of tinfoil cut into rectangles about 150 x200mm, enough for a small conspiracy hat (cat size)
A large pot with a steamer insert and lid and tongs
Sift the Masa harina and baking powder into a large bowl. When using tinfoil the baking powder in the dough lightens up the tamales compensating for the lack of porosity.
Add the melted butter, and stir in the chicken stock and season with salt and peps.
Stir/knead well till the dough becomes the consistency of cake batter.
Spread a thin layer of the dough onto the tinfoil with a wet tablespoon.
Apply the filling in a strip down the middle. Fold the bottom of the strip up and then the sides over to form a filled roll. A bit of water will help seal the masa dough.
Try not to layer too much tinfoil on to allow them to steam properly. Make sure there is extra tinfoil to fold over the bottom of the roll and pinch at the top.
Fill the pot with about 2 inches of water and place the steamer insert in.
Place the tamales vertically (so they’re standing up) tightly in the steamer pot.
Cover and steam at a low temperature for about 45 mins to an hour. Make sure the water level isn’t too high so it boils and wets the bottom of the tamales. It may need a bit of topping up as well.
The tamales are done when the insides are soft and firm (not smooshy). Carefully remove from the steamer pot with tongs.
Unwrap and eat! Delicious!