Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheater Tamales

Full disclosure: I've never actually made a tamale from scratch. I keep meaning to give it a try, but I always hear about how time-consuming and arduous the tamale-makin' process can be. Though I typically love spending hours in the kitchen, I just haven't blocked out time in my busy schedule for a tamale day. I will. Soon. Promise.

Until then, I present you with my quickie version of the savory stuffed treat — my Hot Tamale Pie:

It's yet another recipe I'm testing for my cookbook (told y'all I was steppin' up this cookbook game, right?). I've made it once before, but I made too much filling for a 9-inch pie pan. This time, I used a 10-inch pan and lessened the ratios of ingredients. It's not as fancy as a tamale, but it satisfies when you don't have all day to spend in the kitchen.

Though tamales originated in Latin America, they also have strong Southern roots. The Mississippi Delta (the area along the river from Memphis down to Vicksburg, Miss.) is often referred to as the Tamale Trail, thanks to an abundance of tamale stands and diners serving up the Southern version of the traditional Latin treat. Why is this? There are several theories. Some say migrant workers who worked the cotton fields with African American slaves back in the day shared their foodways. Other theorize that U.S. soldiers from Mississippi brought back tamale recipes after traveling to Mexico during the U.S.-Mexican War.

While Mexican tamales are made with masa, most Southern folks make theirs with cornmeal, which lends the tamale a grittier, polenta-like texture. In keeping with Southern tradition, my pie features a cornmeal-based, polenta-like crust and topping. I gotta keep it real.

15 comments:

Justin Fox Burks said...

Give my 20 minute tamales a try: http://chubbyvegetarian.blogspot.com/2010/03/20-minute-tamales.html

-TCV

Millie said...

wow Bianca that looks great.

Timmy Mac said...

Um...when exactly is your cookbook coming out? Because every morning I see this delicious food, and if I don't get some recipes soon, my head's gonna 'splode!

Rick said...

keepin it real.....real CRUNKTASTIC! gosh damn i wish i could visit you and try all this southern goodness!

Cara Sheppard said...

That looks fantastic! As tamales aren't really big here in Canada, and vegetarian tamales are non-existent as far as I can tell, I've never actually HAD a tamale. But now I really want this pie. Finish the cookbook already!

The Shenandoah Vegan said...

Since they're 'Cheater Tamales', why don't you cheat on yourself and divulge the recipe now???

Courtney said...

I have made tamales from scratch twice now. I was totally intimidated by it at first, but it actually isn't that bad! You should give it a try!

Everything looks/sounds so good! How about letting your testers test some of your recipes, lol...hint, hint :-) You have not posted anything for a while. Are you pretty much done with the testing phase and the testing blog?

Courtney

Dianne said...

very interesting! I look forward to trying it, now that I'm into polenta :-)

River (Wing-It Vegan) said...

Awesome! When I made the Viva Vegan tamales it really wasn't a whole lot of work, but the cleaning up after everything was done would have been overwhelming without a dishwasher. Or maybe I'm just spoiled.

littleblackfox said...

Here in the UK most people have never even heard of tamales. I love making them, but they take forever! So I love tamale pie (never seem to get my filling to topping ratio right though!). This pie looks delicious! Guess I'll have to wait for the book to get the recipe!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Ooh, I love Tamale Pie! This looks great.

The Rockin' Vegan said...

Looks quite tasty. Can't wait to get my hands on this cookbook of yours =)

Fiber said...

The cheater tamales look awesome! And I'll have to agree with how time consuming they are.
My mom and I have a yearly tradition of making a huge batch of vegan tamales every year to freeze and it takes us all day to make dozens of them.
But it's worth it throughout the year!!

Theresa S. said...

Wow! That tamale looks awesome. Also, your plates are just too cute!!! Love them! =)

Kiersten said...

I have actually never had a tamale! I thought about making them a few times but could never find the corn husks. When your book comes out I'll try your recipe instead of doing it the traditional way. (I really don't want to spend all day wrapping tamales anyway)