Tamales: Take 2

Last fall my friend Andrea and I tried to make tamales.  Instead of using a steamer, I turned two of our pots into a makeshift double boiler, and they took forever to cook.  After six plus hours, I gave up and called them done.  This time, I bought a metal colander at Target and turned one of our large pots into a steamer.   This made the whole process so much easier! Instead of the six plus hours, these cooked in two and a half. 
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I’m freezing them until Saturday when I plan to serve them at my Mexican themed book club.  We are reading the book, Just like Us by Helen Thorpe about four Denver girls of Mexican descent, each with a different immigration status.  I am such a book club procrastinator that with one week to go I was only on page 8.  Oops.  Good thing it’s a really engaging story, so I’ve been able to get through it quickly!
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I tasted one of these tamales fresh from the pot, and while I couldn’t necessarily taste the mushrooms and goat cheese it was still delicious.  Of course, I have a special place in my heart for tamales, so maybe I’m biased.

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tamales

Filling
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz of cremini mushrooms
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp of fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz goat cheese

Tamale
2 cup Maseca
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cup chicken broth (more if needed)
2/3 cup shortening
water (as needed)
Half a bag of corn husks

Directions:

1. Boil water in a large pot and add half a bag of corn husks.  Sit covered for 2 hours.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium sized skillet.  Stir in the mushrooms and saut√© until tender.  Then add thyme and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and let the mushrooms cool in a bowl.  Once the mushrooms are cool, stir in the goat cheese.

3. Place all of the dry ingredients in a mixer and mix until combined.  Slowly add the two cups of chicken broth to the dry ingredients.  Once the chicken broth is incorporated, add the shortening.  At this point I added extra chicken broth to liquefy the mixture until it resembled dry cake batter. 

4. I used a small ice cream scoop to drop two scoops on each corn husk, leaving about 2 inches at the bottom of each husk and one inch on one of the sides.  I then added about 2 teaspoons of the goat cheese and mushroom mixtures to the middle of each tamale, then folded the husk around the mixture.  Once they were assembled, I placed the tamales into the metal colander with the open side up.  Then I filled in the extra space in the colander with the leftover corn husks and placed it over a large stockpot of boiling water.  I added 4 pennies to the bottom of the stock pot so that I could hear if the water got too low, then covered the tamales with a lid and let them cook for about two and a half hours.  People living at sea level might only need them to cook for only two hours, but sadly our boiling water is cooler up here.

Nutritionals (makes 22 tamales) Cals: 124, Fat: 9, Carb: 9, Fiber: 1, Protein: 2