A wonderful way to enjoy much of the same rich taste of tamales, with far less effort! You can make the dough from scratch or from masa harina, with whatever filling you choose. We found black beans simmered with dried cholla buds and green chili sauce (below) to be phenomenal. I also find this dish a great way to add some flair to leftover beans. If you don’t have a filling ready to go or a lot of time to spare, a shortcut can be to stick the dough in the oven while you cook the rest of the “tamale,” to be scooped on top and served.
Thanks to Shannon at Plan To Eat, whose recipe provided a great starting point.
UPDATE (2/3/17): A fun variation on this theme — a thin layer of masa on the bottom (with some butter but no leavening), beans and salsa in the middle, and crumbled tortilla chips on top. Amazing. Especially when you are famished and there’s homemade guacamole and yogurt to dollop on top.
Cazuela de Tamal
4 cups freshly ground nixomal or masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup chilled butter or neutral flavored oil
2 cups water or stock
Combine nixomal or dry masa harina with salt and baking powder, then cut in butter or oil — or combine them all in a food processor. Stir in liquid to form a wet dough. Press half the dough into the bottom of a large (13X11″) baking pan, then spoon about an inch of filling on top, then press the remaining dough over it. This is the trickiest part — it’s okay if some of the filling sneaks through. Bake at 400°F for 40-50 minutes, until slightly crispy and golden on top, let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!
Solar oven tried and true! Press into a dark aluminum pot, cover with a lid, and bake for 2-4 hours in a solar box oven.
A few tablespoons oil
1 chopped onion
2 tablespoons flour (can use gluten free)
2 heaping teaspoons green or red chili powder of your choice
1 cup water
Saute onion in a couple tablespoons oil until soft. Add another tablespoon or so of oil and stir in flour to form a thick paste. Let cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, whisk chili powder of your choice and water and add to the pan. Let it cook for a couple more minutes, continuing to stir, until it is heated through and begins to thicken.