Fall is here!! The leaves are turning, the air is getting crisp, winter is sneaking up, and the cool air is making us crave warm comfort food. Thank goodness it’s the season of ‘squash and pumpkin! Here is a fun fall vegetable twist on the traditional tamale recipe. This is a wonderful entrée to pair with black beans, rice, and chips and salsa.
1 acorn squash
2 avocados, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 ½ tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 cups cheese, grated (if desired-pepper jack or cheddar are my favorites)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Cut the squash in half and de-seed. Place cut side down on baking sheet, add an inch or so of water and bake until soft, about 30-40 minutes.
3. Remove squash from oven and scrape the meat into a bowl and set aside. (keep the oven on for steaming the tamales).
4. Sauté garlic and jalapeno with olive oil until translucent (2 minutes). Add these to the squash.
5. Add remaining spices, chili paste, and maple syrup to the squash and add stir until mixed. Mix in desired amount of cilantro as well.
6. Keep avocado and cheese separate for next step.
2 cups masa (corn) flour (makes about 10-14 dough balls depending on husk size)
1 ¼ cups, warm
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Combine the above ingredients and mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes to form soft dough. If dough feels dry add more water, one tablespoon at a time. *Dough needs to be pliable and a medium consistency. Not too dry and not sticky. Divide dough into about 10- 14 balls. Place all portioned dough into a bowl with a damp warm dishtowel over the try to keep them from drying out.
Making the Tamales:
Note: If you’re using green corn husks, freshly shucked from corn, there’s no soaking needed, however, if you’re using dried corn husks, make sure to soak the husks for few hours prior to use.
1. Prepare a deep baking dish with a cooling rack in the base. Place about 1 inch of water in the base of the pan. This will be where you steam the tamales. Make sure the oven is still heated at 350 F.
2. On the counter, lay out a few husks and spread a ball of corn dough flat over three quarters of each husk, leaving empty space around three sides.
3. Place a small spoon of filling in the middle and make a slight pocket lengthwise and fill with cheese and avocado.
4. Roll towards the empty side of the husk and twist and tie the ends. Also, tie a few pieces of extra husk strands around the tamale so it won’t unwrap while steaming.
5. Place each tamale on the cooling rack in the baking pan side-by-side, seams up, cover dish with foil and steam in oven for 15-20 minutes. Tamales are done when cheese is melted inside. For these photos I did not use cheese.