Tamales Rellenos de Calabacin - Tamales Filled with Squash
- 16 large fresh or dried sweetcorn husks
For the masa
- 100g masa harina
- 25g butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 25mls milk
- 50mls vegetable stock
For the filling
- 100g feta cheese
- 1 small butternut squash (or another variety if available)
- 1 chopped fresh red chilli
- 4 cloves garlic, whole with the skin on
- A few sprigs of thyme
- Chopped coriander
- Juice of half a lime
- Olive oil
- Roast the squash in a hot oven (180/gas mark 7) 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
- To prepare the sweet corn husks, if fresh, carefully peel the husks off the cobs and place in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 5minutes, drain and leave to cool. If using dried husks soak them in hot water for 30minutes. When they are soft rinse them under running water as you separate them. Lay them flat on a plate and keep them covered with a damp cloth.
- To prepare the masa, beat the softened butter in a mixing bowl, until soft and fluffy.
- Mix the masa harina with the salt and baking powder.
- Beat some of the dry mixture into the butter and then add a little milk then some more dry mix, then some stock until everything is combined.
- The masa should be the consistency of scone dough, soft and pliable, if too dry and a little more milk, if too wet a little more masa harina. This makes enough masa for 8 tamales at 30g each.
- 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. Place a sausage of masa (30g) in the middle of the husk, starting at 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 2/3rds down the husk and flatten the sausage.
- Top the masa sausage with 1 tablespoon of habanero and sweet corn chilli salsa filling and top with about 1 tbsp of roasted squash and crumble on the feta. Press down so that the filling completely covers the masa. Lay a spare husk over the filling, wrap the sides of the husk around the filling, turn the thin end up 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.
- Steam the tamales in a vegetables steamer. Cover the bottom of the steamer with some left over husks, place the tamales standing upright and fill the spaces between them with wads of silver foil. Cover the top with a lid or cover with silver foil. Steam for 45- 60 minutes. You can tell when they are done because the masa will be soft and sponge-like.
- Serve them as soon as possible, before the masa becomes stodgy, with rice, mole and salsas.