Ami’s Vegetarian Tamales

Tamales with Goat Cheese and Various Fillings - based on EatingWell’s Squash, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tamales.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Make Ahead Tip: The batter (Step 2) and filling (Step 3) will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Steamed tamales will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat tamales in a steamer or in the microwave on Medium power.
  • Notes: Cornhusks are traditionally used as tamale wrappers. They are sold dried and need to be reconstituted in water to make them pliable enough for tamales.
  • Masa is ground dried corn treated with lime, sometimes called masa harina or instant masa mix; it is used for making tamales and tortillas. Masa can be found near the cornmeal or flour and dried cornhusks in the produce department of most well-stocked supermarkets or Mexican grocers.

Tamale Beauty

Instructions

  • 1. To prepare wrappers: Place cornhusks in a large bowl, cover with hot water and weight with a heavy plate or pan to completely submerge them. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  • 2. To prepare batter: Put masa and 1 1/4 cups hot water in a large bowl; stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Beat ricotta, oil, baking powder and salt in another large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add grits (or cornmeal) and mix until combined. Add the ricotta mixture to the masa mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in broth 1/4 cup at a time until the batter is very moist and spreadable, but not runny.
  • 3. To assemble tamales: Drain the cornhusks and pat dry. Sort through and pick out 16 large, unblemished husks to use as wrappers. Cut about 2 dozen thin, long strips from the remaining husks to use as ties (we used kitchen string). Cover the husks and ties with a damp towel to keep moist.
  • 4. Working on a clean surface, unfold one of the large cornhusks so it’s completely flat. Spread 1/3 cup of the batter in the center of the husk in a 4-inch square, leaving a wide border at the top and the bottom. Spoon desired filling in a thin strip down the length of the batter. Top the filling with 1 rounded teaspoon goat cheese. Bring the two long sides of the cornhusk together, causing the batter to completely surround the filling; but don’t fold the sides over the tamale yet. Fold the cornhusk ends in, then fold the sides around the tamale. If a cornhusk splits while you’re folding the tamale, just wrap a second husk right over the first and finish rolling. Tie the tamale closed using a long thin strip of cornhusk or kitchen string. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 15 more tamales. (You may have a little batter and/or filling left over.)
  • 5. To steam tamales: Fill a large Dutch oven with 1 inch of water. Place a steamer basket in the pot and loosely place the tamales upright in the basket. Cover and steam over medium heat for 1 hour. Check the water level periodically and add more boiling water if necessary. The tamales are done when the batter is firm and easily pulls away from the wrapper.