Nacatamales (Nicaraguan Tamales)

May 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 15 tamales (large)

Nacatamales are similar to Mexican tamales but they are quite large and filled with a potato, rice, corn, vegetable and herb mixture and are typically served on holidays and special occasions. This recipe makes ½ size portions of the traditional tamale.

Ingredients

For the tamale dough

2 cups masa harina
2 cups pork stock, reserved from poached pork
½ cup lard
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime zest

For the filling

1 pound pork butt cubed (about 1 inch cubes)
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced thin
2 medium tomatoes, chopped medium
1 cup fresh corn, chopped fine
½ cup long grain rice, cooked al dente
3 potatoes, 1-inch cubes (about 1½ cups)
½ cup fresh mint, chopped fine
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
Juice of 3 limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon hot sauce of choice
Salt
Pepper
Banana leaf squares

Directions

For the tamale dough

In a large mixing bowl combine the masa harina, lime zest, and 2 cups of the reserved pork liquid. Mix well. In a kitchen aid or with an electric mixer, mix the lard until fluffy or about five minutes. A little at a time mix the lard into the masa harina until fully incorporated. Mix in the baking powder and the salt and mix well. The dough is ready (well mixed) when a small piece of the dough floats in a glass of cold water.

For the filling & assembly

In a large mixing bowl combine the filling ingredients and mix well, making sure the rice is well combined. In the center of each banana, place about 4 tablespoons of masa harina mixture. Flatten with a spoon leaving about 1 inch around each border of the banana leaf. Atop that place about 2 tablespoons meat and vegetable mixture. Fold over the banana leaf like you are folding a present. Tie the wrapped package with banana leaf ties or kitchen twine.

Place the wrapped tamales in a steamer and cover the top of the tamales with a kitchen towel (to prevent drips from making tamales soggy). Steam tamales on medium heat for about 45-60 minutes or until soft and cooked through.

Guatamalan Red Chili Pork Chuchitos (Tamales)

April 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 20 tamales

INGREDIENTS

For the red chili pork

2 cups water
1 medium tomato, chopped medium
1 red chile, torn into pieces
1 medium yellow onion, chopped medium
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 pound pork butt
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

For the tamale dough

2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 cups pork stock, reserved from poached pork
½ cup lard
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Corn husk wrappers
Hot sauce

DIRECTIONS

For the red chili pork

Place water, tomatoes, chile, onions, garlic, spices, pork butt, salt and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until pork is falling apart and soft. Take off heat and cool. Discard the bay leaf. Shred the pork by pulling apart the fibers using a fork or your fingers. Place shredded meat into a medium sized bowl and add fresh herbs and combine. Set aside.

For the tamale dough

In a large mixing bowl combine masa harina and lime zest with 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid from pork and mix well. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a kitchen aid mixer or with an electric hand held mixer, mix the lard until fluffy, about five minutes. Add the lard to the masa harina mixture, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the baking powder and the salt and mix well. The dough is ready (well mixed) when a small piece floats in a glass of cold water.

For the wrappers

For corn husk wrappers, place the corn husks in boiling, water for 1-2 minutes, take out and cool slightly before handling. In the corn husk, place about ½ cup of the masa mixture topped with shredded pork and herb mixture. Fold over the corn husk like you are folding a present and tie the package with a corn husk tie or kitchen twine.

Place the wrapped tamales in a steamer and cover the top of the tamales with a kitchen towel (to prevent drips and tamales from getting soggy). Steam tamales on medium heat for about 30-45 minutes or until soft and cooked through. Serve with hot sauce.

Paches de Guatemala (Guatemala Potato Tamales)

April 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 8 tamales

INGREDIENTS

2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped fine
1 cup water
Salt
6 tablespoons lard or margarine
1 pound potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 cups masa harina
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon achiote powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
Corn husks or banana leafs
Lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS

In a medium sauce pan on high heat, add tomatoes, green onions, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeño and water and cook, about 5-8 minutes until soft. Transfer to a blender, season with salt and process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve (sauce should be very smooth) and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine lard, cooked and mashed potatoes, masa harina, salt, allspice, black pepper, and dissolved achiote powder, and mix well. Add the tomato pepper sauce and mix until incorporated well. In the center of each banana leaf or corn husk, place about ½ cup of the potato masa mixture. To make tamales, fold over the banana leaf or corn husk like you are folding a present and tie the package with a corn husk tie, a banana leaf tie, or kitchen twine.

Place the wrapped tamales in a steamer and cover the top of the tamales with a kitchen towel (to prevent drips and tamales from getting soggy). Steam tamales on medium heat for about 30-45 minutes or until soft and cooked through. Serve with lots of fresh lemon wedges.

Buttermilk Biscuits

April 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes approximately 30

INGREDIENTS

2¼ cups sifted cake flour, or 2 cups sifted all purpose flour, plus more for your work surface and hands
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cold unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
2 tablespoons cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into several pieces
¾ cup cold whole or low-fat buttermilk (preferably whole)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Add the butter and lard and pulse the mixture in 2-second increments until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces, about 5 pulses. (If you don’t have a food processor, cut the fat into the dry ingredients in a bowl by mashing with a fork, or a pastry blender; it will take about 3 minutes).

Transfer the mixture back to the bowl, pour the buttermilk over it, and mix with the fork for about 1 minute, until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, knead with floured fingers once or twice, and pat into a rectangle about 6 by 10 inches and 1 inch thick. Fold the rightmost third of the rectangle over the center third and fold the left third on top. Turn the dough a quarter turn, pat it into a 6 by 10 rectangle, and fold it upon itself in thirds again. Repeat one more time, and then pat the dough into a 6 by 10 rectangle about 1 inch thick.

Using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter (or an upside-down shot glass), cut the biscuits from the dough (DO NOT TWIST THE CUTTER!). Cut the biscuits with a straight up-and-down motion; twisting will reduce the biscuit’s ability to rise. Place them about 1½ inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops just begin to brown.
Serve warm.

Recipe from “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook”

Cornbread

April 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons bacon fat, lard, or butter
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2½ cups fine cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Melt fat in large cast-iron skillet; cool slightly. Beat eggs until light. Add buttermilk and cooled fat, leaving a little fat in the skillet. Keep skillet warm. Separately, mix together cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add cornmeal and mix until smooth. Pour batter into hot skillet, place skillet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from “Southern Cooking” by Mrs. S. R. Dull

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