1 Suzie the Foodie: Epicure's corn tamales and my first tamales ever!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Epicure's corn tamales and my first tamales ever!

Epicure's Corn Tamales

My dear and amazing friend Fran was so sweet, she ordered a whole bunch of amazing items from Epicure for me including corn husks and Masa Harina (corn flour), on top of a tortilla press! I now had everything I needed to make my own tamales. The only problem? I knew nothing about them!

At the time all I had heard about tamales was that they were a pain to make and took a lot of time. I wanted to try one when I was at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market but when I saw they were around $6 each... I decided to just go for it. Six bucks?! Maybe they really are that tough to make! I was about to find out...

Epicure's Corn Tamales

One thing that is absolutely true about making tamales is they take time. On a dark and stormy day alone in my kitchen, I got out the Epicure corn husks and soaked some in warm water for 30 minutes.

I decided to use the recipe for tamales that came in the Epicure package, just to be safe.

Epicure's Corn Tamales

While they soaked I got to work on the tamales. I decided to make half the recipe which ended up being kind of awkward and required me to wing it a lot. You can find the original recipe here. To make a full batch you want to beat together 2 cups of the Masa Harina with 1 1/2 cups of water.

And Then I Ate It's Taco Seasoning Epicure's Corn Tamales

You were supposed to use 2 tbsp of all these seasoning packages that I did not have so I used And Then I Ate Its taco seasoning instead. It is a great seasoning mix! I have used it in all sorts of dishes and it is very tasty.

Epicure's Corn Tamales Epicure's Corn Tamales

Add 3/4 cup room temperature butter gradually, beating well as you add the butter. At this point the recipe got confusing and I just started to work intuitively. You were supposed to add 1/2 cup of Epicure's prepared bouillon but I drizzled in some chicken broth instead until it looked like a paste.

Epicure's Corn Tamales

I got one of the corn husks and blotted off the water with a clean kitchen towel. This is where I got frustrated. You were supposed to scoop out 1/3 cup of the dough into the top third of the widest portion of the husk. Spread out slighting and spoon on your filling. I added some homemade refried black beans and my chorizo.

Epicure's Corn Tamales

Fold corn husk in half lengthwise left to right. Then fold left outside edges to the center of the tamale. Fold up bottom third to middle. Tie using a corn husk strip... What?!

I tried. I really did but it just did not look right. There appeared to be too much filling or something. The photos in the pamphlet of how to fold the tamales were from a distance, I could not really see what to do. I watched videos on Youtube and quickly realized, everybody folds the tamales differently. Ugh!

Epicure's Corn Tamales

In the end, each and every tamales ended up being folded a different way. This one was my favourite but most tamales seems to have a steam vent for the filling on top and mine was tightly folded on both sides. At this point, I didn't care and never thought I would make these again!

Epicure's Corn Tamales

I steamed them for 90 minutes and just forgot about them for a while and moved on to something else. I was frustrated!

Epicure's Corn Tamales

Now how are you supposed to eat them? Obviously not with the corn husks on but do you add salsa? Sour cream? Anything???!!! The recipe did not say.

Epicure's Corn Tamales

These corn dumplings are not pretty but I have to admit, they are damn delicious. Definitely worth over $6 each! Reg doesn't like grainy texture and doesn't eat pork so these were all mine and suddenly, they were worth the frustration.

Epicure's Corn Tamales

I had the rest for lunch the next day which was nice and bright (note difference in lighting, LOL) and decided to try them with sour cream and salsa. They were fabulous this way too!

Very hearty, fulfilling and comforting, I had never had anything quite like it before. I thoroughly enjoyed them and now that I have a better idea of how to make them, I will probably make them again!


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I love a story with a happy ending!

AvaDJ said...

They look amazing Suzie! I'm totally impressed with them both wrapped and the finished product. It's so cool how you can see the detailed lines imprinted on the tamales from the corn husks. I've never had tamales, they sound so delicious! What an adventure.

Kathleen said...

These look amazing. I really appreciate your step by step photos. It really makes the whole process so understandable. Thanks!!!

Tournesol said...

Wow, your method looks pretty doable! I went to a tamale making party once and it seemed like way too much trouble. Maybe it was the quantity that made it overwhelming. I may try again, they are really good. I've had them with a little pineapple inside, delicious!

Tammy said...

Suzie - they really look a lot like the ones I made in class (with a Mexican chef!) The only thing I would say is - lard. We made dough with and without lard... Lard really makes a tamal taste like a tamal should taste to me! Worth the extra calories for that flavor in there! :)

Nydia said...

Hi, Suzie!
I just found your Pinterest, and saw this recipe (years later, lol). We call tamales "pamonhas" here, and they're a real pain in the ass to prepare. The difference is that in Brazil they are made with grated sweetcorn, milk, eggs, grated parmesan cheese and spicy chopped sausages, basically (I can get you the recipe if you want to try it when your life is less crazy). It's delicious but better when someone else prepares it, lol
We eat without anything else, it's so ful of tasty ingredients that it doesn't need a side dish (some with rice is good, though). I've never seen this version before! :)

Suzie Ridler said...

Hi Nydia! :) Yes, they are challenging to make, aren't they? Oh wow, that sounds so good though and would love the recipe. Might take me a while to get around to it though, as you know.