These sweet potato tamales get a spicy kick with chiles.
1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds garnet or jewel sweet potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup lard or additional butter
1 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth
1 1/4 cups dehydrated masa flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 canned chipotle chiles, drained and minced
Salt and fresh-ground pepper
20 dried corn husks, soaked (see notes)
How to Make It
In a small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set sweet potato halves, cut side up, in a baking dish, and rub cut sides equally with butter mixture. Bake in a 350° oven until soft when pressed, about 1 hour.
Scoop flesh from sweet potatoes (discard skins) into a bowl; mash with a fork until smooth.
In a 1- to 2-quart pan over low heat, melt lard. Pour in chicken broth and stir until warm. Add broth mixture to sweet potatoes; mix well. Gradually add masa flour, stirring until well blended. Stir in baking powder and chipotles and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tear 3 or 4 corn husks into long, thin strips. Lay a whole husk flat on a work surface, smooth side down, with one long edge closest to you. Spoon a scant 1/3 cup filling lengthwise down center of husk. Fold bottom edge over filling and roll up tamale. Tie each end with a thin strip of husk. Repeat until all filling is used.
In an 8- to 10-quart pan, position a rack at least 1 inch above 1 inch of water; bring to a boil over high heat. Set tamales on rack, lower heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and steam until filling is firm, about 1 hour, adding water to pan as needed to maintain 1-inch depth. Remove tamales and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional analysis per tamale.
NOTES: Dried corn husks are available in some well-stocked supermarkets and in Mexican markets. Before using, separate husks and discard silks; soak husks in hot water until pliable, about 20 minutes. You will need about 15 large, well-shaped husks for the tamales and 3 to 4 to tear into strips for tying, but we suggest soaking a few extra in case some tear in the process. You can make and steam the tamales up to a day ahead; cover and chill. Reheat in steamer 15 to 20 minutes.
These were easier to make than I expected! Some of my guests were turned off by the spice, so I might use fewer chiles, or even none at all if I made it again. I actually made these in my slow cooker. You just sprinkle a few tablespoons of water in the pot with the tamales and cook on high for four hours.
These were really fantastic. Not your typical 'stuffed' tamales, but the flavor and texture was spot-on. They had a little kick, but not too much. Save yourself some time & bake the sweet potatoes the day before so they're cooled and ready to mash on the day you make the tamales.
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