Tamales de Jamaica con Chipotle

I’ve attempted making red chile with jamaica once before, and it was an EPIC disaster.  Oh, lawdee lawd – so gross.
Then a few weeks back, there was an article in the NY Times about a vegan chef in LA, and how she makes carnitas and al pastor tacos using jackfruit and jamaica.  I ordered her cookbook then and there. (Check it out – she is forking brilliant!!)

I wanted a red chile style filling for tamales, and alas that recipe is not included – but her techniques are, so I cobbled together a few things and this turned out pretty tasty. This is one of those recipe in many steps – I did it over a couple days.  And, I gotta confess, I just bought the damn masa preparada – my local meximart makes a vegan one, and it is pretty good.  So, I boiled the jamaica one day (and used that for aqua fresca) and then stuck the cooked flowers in the fridge, and then got them out today to finish.

And – heads up!  I’m not going to go in to tamale fabrication steps here – the interwebs is chock full.  This is more about how to make that vegan filling. Just know that in all seriousness, if you were to cook these in the Instant pot, you could have home made fresh tamales ready in an hour.  No shit, bro. For reals.

Ingredients:

The Tamales
Corn husks, soaked in hot water and drained
Green olives – about 16
4# masa preparada para tamales

The Filling:
1 c. dried jamaica/hibiscus flowers that have been boiled and drained twice, then chopped. This will yield about 3 c. final product.
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ a 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, or one big red tomato, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ c. chipotles en adobo
½ c. prepared red chili paste (see the barbacoa post for the recipe – I make it in batches and freeze ½ c. portions in otter pop zippies in the freezer)
½ c. water
1 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano leaves
¼ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika

Ok, in a saute pan cook the olive oil, garlic and tomato on medium-low for about ten minutes – until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic is cooked. Puree that mix along with the chipotles en adobo.  Return that mix to the pan, and add the rest of the ingredients except the jamaica.  Simmer on medium about five minutes to let everything cook together.  While that’s going, coarsely chop the jamaica.  When the time’s up, stir the jamaica in to the red chile sauce and remove from the heat.  That’s it.  You’re ready to assemble.

Assemble and steam for about 45m. stove top (or follow the directions for your instant pot). And enjoy!

I got sixteen tamales out of this batch. But honestly, they started to get a little fat at the end there – so if I’d been more consistent I would have had 18 or 20. Try to make them all the same size, btw, so they cook evenly and are all done at the same time. My heavy-handedness cost me additional cooking time.
Either way, though, your reward is this:

OMG these are so good. And yes, indulgent – but we both commented on how they were not as heavy as the meat kind. Which is dangerous, because then maybe you think you can eat four in one sitting instead of just two.

Tacos de Camotes (Sweet Potato Tacos)

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I toyed with some pretentious hipster title for this puppy – caramelized sweet potato tacos in a chipotle garlic emulsion. But, nah. This are simple and good – so tacos de camotes is much better. I want to try it with pumpkin, too. One day….. Anyway, if you get tired of turkey day leftovers in a couple of weeks, or want to use up that leftover sweet potato on the counter, or hell! Make an awesome first course to Thanksgiving dinner, these are ready to roll. Fast, easy and yummy. I can’t really say ‘no pica’, but the heat isn’t bad.
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These are crunchy and soft, tangy, sweet and spicy. Truly lovely.
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This is enough for two people as a main dish, or four for a side.

For the Taco filling:
2 large sweet potatoes, diced*
1/2 white onion, diced
1 Tbps. olive oil
garlic salt
For the chipotle emulsion:
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 whole chipotle peppers en adobo
2 Tbsp wine/cider/sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp olive olive
(A little water mixed with some adobo if needed)
And…..
Soft corn tortillas

*(diced means 1/2” cubes, people)
Preheat oven to 375*. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. spread out evenly the sweet potato and onion, drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic salt.
Roast about 20-30 minutes, until really nicely caramelized.
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While that’s roasting, put the dressing ingredients in the blender and puree. You may need to add a little water/adobo sauce mix to get enough liquid to blend. Transfer to a bowl large enough to hold all the potato/onion mix when it comes out of the oven.
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When the potato/onion mix is done, remove from the oven and set aside just for a few minutes. (This lets the outside crust on the sweet potato cubes develop just a tidge more). Heat your tortillas and get your serving plate. Toss the hot sweet potato/onion mix in the chipotle emulsion, fill the tortillas and consume immediately.

These would be awesome with a smoked fontina cheese. Or avocado slices. Or even with some scrambled egg for an amazeballs breakfast taco. Or hell, underneath some poached eggs for that matter.

** This would also work with kabucha squash.
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Bon apétit

Butternut Squash Purée with Chipotle

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So, we all know about Billy’s diet restrictions.  Coming up with a starch-resembling food item at dinner is a challenge. He can eat winter squash, so lately it’s been 101 ways to eat butternut.  This is one we like. And it is literally three-ingredients and ten minutes. 

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The biggest pain to this is peeling the squash.  Sometimes Sprouts will have it already peeled and cubed at essentially the same per-pound price, but not always.  So, when I have to (gasp) prep my own, this is what I do: Slice the knob off the top and the bottom, so it will stand up  on the cutting board. Then, I just take a veg peeler in long strokes down the length of the squash. (There is nothing pervy about this, unless your husband is watching you do it so make him leave the room.)

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Once the peel’s off, it’s just a matter of slicing it in half longitudinally and then cubing.

So – to make it. For the two of us, I put half the cubes in a microwave-safe bowl. That’s about a pound of squash. Cover it with Saran, and microwave it.  Do NOT add any liquid of any kind, or you will wind up with squash soup instead of puree.  If you don’t have a microwave, roast it. Do not steam or boil because that will add too much moisture and again you’ll have soup.

 

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Take it out, drain it if needed, add a tablespoon of butter and one half of a whole chipotle in adobo. Dump all that in the cuisinart and pulse til it’s gorgeous. Then it’s ready to go!

This is a new favorite at our house. It is fantastic with some grilled pork chops and collard greens, or a nice chicken breast and roasted broccoli.

[yumprint-recipe id=’26’]  We hope you like it.