Squash tamales

Easy Food Recipes and Cooking - Squash tamales

Squash tamales

Serves 8 | Prep 1 hr | Cook 1 hr
16 large fresh or dried sweetcorn husks

For the masa:
50g butter, softened
200g masa harina
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
50ml milk
100ml vegetable stock

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (or another variety), peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, whole with the skin on
1 fresh red chilli, chopped
a few sprigs of thyme
olive oil
chopped coriander
juice of ½ lime
100g vegetarian feta cheese
refried beans (optional)

Squash tamales

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Roast the squash in a hot oven with the garlic, chilli, thyme and olive oil until it is soft – this should take 30–40 minutes. When cooked, remove the garlic from its skin and pound in a pestle and mortar and then stir back through the squash. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir through some chopped coriander and lime juice.

2. To prepare the sweetcorn husks, if fresh, carefully peel the husks off the cobs and place in a saucepan of boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes, drain and leave to cool. If using dried husks, soak them in hot water for 30 minutes. When they are soft, rinse them under running water as you separate them. Lay them fl at on a plate and keep covered with a damp cloth.

3. To prepare the masa, beat the butter in a mixing bowl until soft and fl uffy. In a separate bowl, mix the masa harina with the salt and baking powder. Beat some of the dry mixture into the butter, add a little milk, then some more dry mix, then some stock, until everything is combined.

4. The masa should be the consistency of scone dough – soft and pliable. If too dry, add a little more milk, if too wet, a little more masa harina. This makes enough masa for 8 tamales.

5. To assemble the tamales, sort out the 8 best, biggest and untorn husks. Lay a husk on the table with the fat end away from you and place a sausage of masa in the middle of the husk. Starting 1cm from the fat end, press the masa down, leaving a border down each side big enough so that the husk can wrap over the filling. Press the masa down to about twothirds along the husk and fl atten the sausage.

6. Top the masa with about 1 tablespoon of roasted squash and refried beans (if using) and crumble over the feta. Press down so that the filling completely covers the masa. Lay a spare husk over the fi lling, wrap the sides of the husk around the fi lling, then fold the thin end in so that you end up with a package with the thin end sealed and the fat end open. Tear a thin strip off a long husk and tie around the middle and knot to hold the tamale together. Repeat the last two steps to make the remaining tamales.

7. Steam the tamales in a vegetable steamer. Cover the bottom of the steamer with some leftover husks, stand the tamales upright and fi ll the spaces between them with wads of silver foil to hold them in place. Cover and steam for 45–60 minutes. When they are done, the masa will be soft and sponge-like.

8. Serve as soon as possible, with mole sauce, a traditional chocolate chilli sauce, salsas and more refried beans.

Tip Masa harina is made from coarse maize fl our and is used to make tortillas, tamales and enchiladas.