Saturday, January 14, 2012


Ok, we're late, but we're ok with that due to a fun vacation!

Ok, we're excited about this challenge but not in the same way that we expect everyone else is.  Again, we are excited. 

We almost blew this one off (remember the first line of this post?) but decided not to because for the first time ever we have a reason to buy us up some tomatillos.  One of our more frequented non-mega-mart (yes, we're quoting Alton again) stores nearby seems to always have them (and always have people fussing over them - but never us) but we've had no idea what to do with them, mostly because we don't know what to expect from them taste wise.  We're about to change all that!

Green Chile Chicken Tamales

Rounding up everything was easy enough.  As expected the store we knew to have the tomatillos also had everything else we needed (even lard, but we chose to go with the shortening because some of those numbers on the back of the can were, frankly, just a little frightening) and quite easily locatable.

Fortunately we read through the directions one more time in the morning and caught the bit about soaking the husks for at least 3 hours because our plan to start at about 6 for dinner would have meant we were very hungry by the time we got through all 24 steps...

Off to the store relatively early and a dash back into the kitchen for a pot of water before heading out to work out in anticipation of eating a lot of tamales later in the day.


Seeing we needed chicken stock in both parts of this process we got a hold of a whole chicken and boiled him (or her?) up and with the skills we learned way back when we made some Consommé to also save us a few bucks at the grocery store.

Did you know that when you peel a tomatillo that under that very dry looking exterior they're kind of sticky, almost icky?  We didn't, but now we know why rinsing them is included in the directions...  They broiled up nicely, just as expected.

Out comes the food processor, in go the tomatillos and any juices that escaped during the broiling.  We're supposed to give them 5 minutes to cool before hitting the go button which is more than enough time to chop up the garlic and chilies (we dialed back from Serrano to Jalapeno - because one of us is a baby when it comes to hot) and get them in too.

They whiz up just fine and into the pan for some reducing.  Then thinned out again with the chicken stock (that is still warm, btw) and back on the heat for some more reducing.  Eventually it looks as described and the chicken and cilantro join in and then it gets to hang around waiting for the dough to come together.


Sort of looked like the pictures provided, but a good bit more green.  We liked the taste, but having never had tomatillos before (that we know of, to be fair...) we weren't exactly sure what we were aiming for.  We're hoping we like the taste because of the tomatillos which would mean we could get brave and try use them in other dishes sometime soon.

We kind of think it would make a fun sandwich.


More electric mixing devices needed... 

Out comes the stand mixer, on goes the paddle.  In goes the shortening, switch goes to on.

In goes the masa and the more that goes in, the more it looks like the mixture you would put on the top of your apple crumble, but we'd read ahead so we weren't worried.

Slowly added in the stock and with about a quarter cup left we poked it and mushed it in our hands and decided we had the right texture - after turning the mixer off first, of course.


We thought we had the right texture and there's nothing to taste so we continued on our way.

Hindsight suggests that we should have used all of the recommended amount of stock.  Oh well...


It goes together easily enough but it took us a couple each to get the feel for how much dough to spread out, how far to spread it out and then how much filling to plonk on top.  We got there, but we may have been using too much dough all the way through because we didn't get the 24 suggested in the recipe.  We did have filling left over, so now we get to find out if it works as a sandwich filling...

The wrapping was surprisingly easy and we really weren't convinced we'd be able to tie them up nicely with the strips of husk we'd made.  Good thing we didn't bet because we would have lost our cash on that one.

Into the pot, all standing up nicely, heat on, walk away and go find some wine to join them for dinner.  We ended up giving them an extra 10 minutes so as to get the described ease of pulling away the husk.


Although some variation in size, once standing up in the pot they mostly looked like the picture provided, and it didn't take us all that long to get them all put together - phew, we were getting hungry.

Recipes & Destructions Instructions



We made Tamales!  No doubt, we got a dish we're happy with.  Someone who grew up eating and making them may have rolled their eyes a little and may have 'complained' about the texture of the dough, but we certainly think they wouldn't go hungry with our attempt.

Not sure what the official tamale eating rules are, but we kind of think a sauce would have helped (and we note from the postings made on time that some people did serve with a sauce) but we accept that we may have that feeling due to our dough being just a little bit too un-moist - next time we'll use all the stock.

We're thinking these might be fun to bring out for friends as an appetizer one day, but we'll probably have to practice one more time before that.  We certainly have enough masa left over to give us a shot at improving...

As tradition now dictates, we reached into our Wine Cellar to find a beverage to aid in the eating part of the challenge.  This time we came out with a Parés Baltà "Ros de Pacs", a Spanish Organic Rose.  Other than a tasting note suggestion that it goes well with Chicken we just thought a lighter red would be our best bet.  A great wine all on it's own, and certainly did no harm to our Tamales.  Although, we suspect our clever wine guy could come up with a technically better match.


Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

Comments pre Blog Platform Change

Shelley C responded:
I am so glad that it all worked out so well, and that you were able to get all of the ingredients so darn easily! Sounds like this was a pretty successful challenge for you guys. Great job!

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