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Old 02-26-2008, 01:37 PM   #1
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Lightbulb "frenching up" chicken tamales

Yesterday evening, I essentially followed the guidelines of the shredded chicken recipe in Mexican Cooking Made Easy (WeiChuan Publishing), a side-effect of which is a respectably large pot of chicken stock.

The goal of this was to prepare some chicken for tamales, which I'll make later today (chicken soaking in flavor in the fridge for now, according to my personal preference).

But since I'd wind up with a pot of chicken stock, I decided to go ahead and include mirepoix.

My prediction is that this will not negatively impact the flavor of the tamales in any way, although I expect them to taste at least somewhat different from the intent of the recipe. (I think I can safely say, without fear of violating the intellectual property of this good book, that the recipe called for making the stock from a whole chicken alone, sans seasoning.)

It also called for only a three-pound chicken, and the smallest I could find was 3.9 lbs. I used all for the stock, but set aside about a fourth of it for snacking and general use before seasoning the rest for tamales.

Also, the book didn't specify whether to cut up the chicken prior to tossing in the stock pot, and curiosity drove me to see what would happen if I left it whole. Doing so had no clear negative effect, and I was able to separate skin from meat from bone rapidly.

Fun Fact: At least most technique books from this publisher are multi-lingual, so mind which version you're getting if you buy one. I intentionally sought an English/Spanish version, as those are my languages of choice.

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Old 02-26-2008, 11:12 PM   #2
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I bet that stock was very tasty, padre.
And, the idea of tamales is always a good one!
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:22 PM   #3
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Got 'em steaming right now, so should know soon enough!

I was going to post a link to a quick youtube vid of the steaming in action, but I've not yet earned that privilege.

On the off chance that anyone's desperately curious to see a few seconds of steaming corn husks, the title is:

Steaming a Big Pot of Tamales
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:22 AM   #4
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The experiment was a complete success. The tamales didn't taste un-tamale-like in any way, despite my having gone so far as to use the stock in making the tamale dough (instead of water).

Incidentally, the recipe in the particular cookbook I cited is not heavily seasoned. In tamale class at Viking it was pointed out that making tamales spicy is an innovation more associated with the Mississippi Delta style of tamales (the style I know best), along with the use of cornmeal instead of masa.

Normally, I favor tamales with enough cayenne pepper and chili powder to burn a hole in titanium, but I'm branching out. In most meaningful respects, I think I was pretty traditionally (north) Mexican with these.

I understand that further south, banana leaves are used instead of corn husks. I wonder if this imparts any flavor differences.
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padre View Post

Normally, I favor tamales with enough cayenne pepper and chili powder to burn a hole in titanium..........
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