Saturday, January 8, 2011

Black Bean Tamales

I was first introduced to these "oddities," last year.  I was skeptical at first ...BUT IT WORKS!  My biggest issue with tamales is the masa (dough).  People trip me out trying to be excessively health conscious - with tamales of all things!  Give me a break!  

If you are gonna make tamales, you have to make them right.  The masa cannot be made with shortening, olive oil (yes, some people actually do this atrocity), margarine or even butter.  You need Lard.  Accept no substitutes!  Manteca reigns supreme here.  If you make the dough for the  tamales using manteca (lard) and don't skimp out on it, your tamales will be more than half way there.  The resulting dough will be flavorful and moist.  For me, bad tamales are dry and  crumble easily when eaten.  They also tend to not hold the filling well unless it has a cheese filling.  If pasta dishes are more about the noodle than the sauce, then tamales are more about the dough than the filling or anything else.

The Tamales De Frijoles Negros incorporate mashed/pureed black beans into the masa.  It turns the dough into a black mass and an unappetizing tamal once it is formed.  The flavor and texture, however are good.  The flavor of the black bean isn't too pronounced but the resulting texture is very light, creamy and smooth.  The addition of the black beans into the dough, makes it so that you essential have a full-proof-way of making tamales that are not crumbly and dried out.  The is definitely a viable option for those people trying to make somewhat healthier tamales.     

The tamales Lilly made were filled with pickled jalapeños, piquillo peppers and cheese.  Admittedly, I enjoyed them more than I thought I would.  A very pleasant surprise indeed.  These will never replace traditional Mexican tamales in my book, nor will they ever supplant my all time favorite, Uchepos (Tamales de maiz) but the tamales de frijoles negros will be a welcome addition to any tamalada from here on out.  

Black Bean Tamal - See what I mean about unappetizing?

The anatomy.

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