Favorite

Roasted poblano, sweet potato, black bean, salsa verde and Jack cheese tamale 

Azteca Gourmet

click to enlarge Roasted poblano, sweet potato, black bean, salsa verde and Jack cheese tamale - BRIENNE BOORTZ
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Roasted poblano, sweet potato, black bean, salsa verde and Jack cheese tamale

Ingredients

For tamale dough:

6 c. masa flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1½ tsp. salt

1 c. oil (we prefer olive oil)

4 to 5 cups of warm water or vegetable or chicken broth

For filling:

6 poblano peppers

2 tbsp. oil

1 c. onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 c. carrots, peeled and shredded

2 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small

1 small bunch spinach or arugula, rinsed and chopped

1 c. broth, if needed

Chipotle powder, to taste

1 tsp. oregano

Salt

Pepper

2 15-oz. cans unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed

For salsa verde:

1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed, and halved

½ white onion, peeled and halved

1 to 3 serrano peppers, whole

3 cloves garlic, peeled

¼ bunch cilantro

Water

Salt

For assembly and garnish:

2 16 oz. packs of frozen banana leaves

1 lb. shredded Jack cheese, or other melting cheese

Water, for steaming

Sour cream

Green onions, sliced

Preparation

For tamale dough:

Combine the dry ingredients, then add oil and 4 cups of warm water or broth. Knead the dough just until all the masa flour is incorporated. The texture should resemble cookie dough — add more water or broth if needed. Let rest for several minutes at room temperature.

For filling:

Char the poblanos directly over a gas flame on the stove or under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in a plastic bag and let steam for about 15 minutes. Peel, stem, seed and devein the chilies. Slice into 1/4-inch strips lengthwise. Set aside.

Over high heat, coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven with 2 tbsp. of oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the carrots and sweet potato, then sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the greens and stir until just wilted. Add the broth if the ingredients look dry. Season with chipotle powder, oregano, salt and pepper, then remove from heat. Add black beans and stir. Adjust seasonings to taste, then let cool.

click to enlarge Roasted poblano, sweet potato, black bean, salsa verde and Jack cheese tamale - BRIENNE BOORTZ
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Roasted poblano, sweet potato, black bean, salsa verde and Jack cheese tamale

For salsa verde:

Preheat the oven’s broiler. Arrange the tomatillos, onion, serranos and garlic on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly charred. Turn the vegetables and broil for another 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool. Cut the stems off serrano peppers, then place roasted veggies and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until desired texture is reached. Add water to the mixture if necessary to facilitate blending. Salt to taste.

To serve

Rinse the banana leaves under warm water to defrost. Cut each piece into a 12-inch square. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Lay out a banana leaf with the lighter, smoother side up. Place ⅓ c. dough on the center of the banana leaf. With the palm of your hand, flatten to a little less than a centimeter thick. Spread about 1½ to 2 tbsp. of the vegetable and bean mix over the top of the masa. Top with two strips of roasted poblano and 1 tbsp. of cheese.

Bring together the two long sides of the banana leaf and fold over, tucking one edge over the other. Fold the two remaining ends under the tamale. Secure with a piece of kitchen string. You can also make ties by pulling off some long thin strips from the larger part of the banana leaf and tying them together. Don’t worry if upon your first attempt to wrap a tamale the banana leaf is too brittle and tears. Wrap the entire tamale in waxed paper.

Place a steaming basket or rack in a stockpot. Add water to just below the basket. Line the basket with banana leaves.

Carefully arrange the tamales in staggered layers in the lined basket. Cover with another layer of banana leaves. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Steam for approximately 1 hour, adding water to the pot as necessary; do not allow the pot to boil dry.

Open a tamale and check for doneness — the masa should be firm and pull away from the banana leaf without sticking. Serve with salsa verde, sour cream and green onions. Makes about 18 tamales.

Aftertaste

This is one of my favorite recipes to share with family and friends. It is a very versatile dish. This recipe is for a vegetarian filling but you can easily make it vegan, or for meat lovers by adding two or three strips of grilled chicken or pork. Buen provecho!

— Submitted by Azteca Gourmet owner Lorena Jakubczak

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