A savory pumpkin tamale
Makes: 12 tamales
1 pound banana leaves — thawed or Frozen OR corn husks
2 cups (heaping) Maseca corn flour
2 cups to 2 1/2 cups warm chicken stock or water
1/2 pound lard
2 cups pureed cooked or canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground canela (cinnamon)
3 ounces piloncillo — grated or crushed or 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar,
2 cups water
2 teaspoons anise
2 To 3 pasilla de Oaxaca chiles OR dried chipotle chiles or canned
chipotle in adobo sauce.
2 cups To 2 1/2 cups cooked or
Canned black beans, drained
5 To 6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons Lard
Prepare Bean Filling Put water in small pan, add anise and boil until
reduced by half. Strain and reserve infusion. If using pasilla de Oaxaca
or dried chipotles, cover with boiling water and let soak until
about 10 minutes. Drain and remove stems. Canned chipotles need no
preparation. Working in batches, if necessary, puree beans with chiles,
garlic and anise infusion in blender or food processor fitted with steel
blade. Melt lard in heavy skillet or wide, shallow saucepan over high
heat. When very hot, add bean puree, watching for splatters. Reduce heat
to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent
sticking, until liquid is evaporated. Season to taste with salt. Cool
Assemble Tamales Unfold banana leaves, being careful not to split them
unnecessarily. Wipe with clean damp cloth and pat dry . With kitchen
scissors, trim leaves into 12 to 14 rectangles, each about 14x11inches.
Save some of the longer trimmings for ties. Mix masa harina in a bowl
or pot with enough warm stock to make soft but not sticky dough. Beat
in separate large bowl on medium speed until very light and fluffy. Add
masa harina mixture and pumpkin puree to lard little at time, beating on
medium speed and scraping down as needed. Mixture should be as light as
butter cream. Beat in cinnamon, piloncillo and salt to taste. Place
or 2 banana leaf rectangles flat on work space (or soaked corn husks).
Tear off some long, thin strips from reserved banana leaf trimmings.
2/3 to 1 cup masa mixture in center of leaf and with spatula or fingers
spread into 3x4x1/2-inch thick oval. Place 1 heaping tablespoon Bean
Filling in center of oval, Fold left and right edges of banana leaf
center to meet, overlapping little to cover filling , then fold top and
bottom edges to center to make a neat, flat package about 4×5 inches.
Fasten by tying with thin strip of banana leaf. Repeat with remaining
banana leaves, masa and filling. Steam the tamales for 45 – 50 minutes.