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Organic : Organic Foods : Organic Recipes Last Updated: Jul 30, 2007 - 11:53:45 AM

By Yolanda Bodden
Mar 14, 2007 - 11:14:36 PM

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Historians document the existence of tamales back to 5000 B.C. in Central America. They were originally prepared for the warriors in that region to take on their travels and the cornhusk wrapping made them easy to warm next to an open fire.

ORGANIC Tamales are made from organic white corn, containing no wheat, rye or other gluten grains.  They contain no leavening agents.  Rely on the fresh wholesome flavor of whole corn and pure olive oil to provide the satisfying texture (leavening agents include eggs, yeast or chemicals such as baking powder and baking soda). All vegan tamales are very low fat. The Red & Black Bean Tamale are the lowest in fat at 7 grams per tamale.

Tamales may be frozen in a cellophane package to extend their freshness.  To re-heat, simply steam the tamales from 8 to 10 minutes filling your kitchen with a most delightful aroma. Since your stovetop is on and the water is boiling, it is very easy to toss a vegetable in with your tamales a few minutes before they are heated; in less than ten minutes you will have a complete meal. Microwaving takes less than 2 minutes for those who are on the run or at a worksite without the luxury of a stovetop. Maximizing the tamales flavor can be done by dampening a paper towel placed over the wrapped tamale or by dampening the parchment paper wrapping the tamale.



For the Tamales
1 bag corn husks, re-hydrated in warm water
6 cups organic white corn
3-4 cups chicken stock, recipe is below
1 pure olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Filling
4 cans of organic red or black beans 
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
8 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup cilantro, stems and leaves
6 dried ancho chiles, re-hydrated in hot water
6 dried pasilla chiles, re-hydrated in hot water
1 cup roasted tomatoes

For the Accompaniments
2 red onions, sliced and grilled
1 cup corn, shaved off the cob and sautéed
1 cup sour cream

Special Tools
electric mixer
steamer insert for pot
blender with glass pitcher so the chiles don’t stain it

Instructions - Tamales
Soak the corn husks in warm water, placing a heavy plate or bowl on them to keep submerged. Let stand until husks soften, turning occasionally, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

In a large stock pot place beans, 4 garlic cloves, onion and cilantro. Add enough cold water to cover the beans. Bring pot to a slight boil over medium high heat, then cover pot and lower to simmer for about 30 minutes over medium heat or beans are cooked through but still moist. Remove beans from the pot and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl add dried chiles and cover with hot water. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let chiles steep for 30 minutes or until soft. Once chiles are soft, drain off the liquid. Remove the stems and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl fitted with a paddle beat olive oil on high speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer off. Add 2 cups of white corn and then mix on low speed until a small dough ball forms. Turn dough ball out into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining white corn, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. The dough should be soft, but not runny. 

In a blender combine tomatoes, dried chiles, 4 cloves of garlic. Blend until a smooth paste forms.  When beans are cooled, put them into a bowl. Add the chili paste to the bowl with the beans. Season with salt and mix well.

For Tamale Assembly - Spread about a ¼ cup of white corn dough in the center of the corn husk. Leave at least a 1 ½ inch border at the tapered bottom end of the husk and about a ¾ inch border on the top end. Spoon about 1 ½ tablespoons of the bean filling in the center of the dough square. Pick up the two long sides of the husks and fold them around the masa and beans. Allow the flaps to overlap, to form a little bundle. Now, fold the tapered end of the husks up towards the top of the tamale. With a thin strip of corn husks, tie a ribbon around the bottom flap of the tamale to secure the flap in place. Do not tie it too tight; leave room for tamale to expand. When all tamales are assembled place them upright (open end up) into the steamer. Allow room in the pot for the tamales to cook evenly. If there is extra room in the pot, form a ball with foil and fill in the gaps of the pot, this will prevent the tamales from falling over. Place any remaining corn husks loosely on the top of the tamales. Cover tightly with a lid and set steamer to cook on the stove on high heat. Make sure there is enough hot water in the steamer at all times. A little trick is to use a penny in the bottom of the pot. If you hear it rattle, you are out of hot water. Tamales take 45 minutes to one hour to cook.

For the Corn and Onions - Peel and slice the organic onions into ¼ thick round slices. Lightly coat the slices with oil and grill over medium high heat until slightly charred and tender.  Shave organic corn kernels from the cob. Sauté corn in oil until golden brown and tender. Combine organic onions and corn in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper.

To Serve - Open corn husk and top with corn, onions and sour cream. Yummy!

Note: Do NOT eat the corn husk. It is used to hold the soft masa in place while it cooks to perfection.The corn husk is biodegradable and should be left for the compost pile and not for the delicate digestive system of humans.


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