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Squash, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tamales

Squash, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tamales

Serves: 16

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • 4 ounces dried cornhusks
  • Batter
  • 1¾ cups masa
  • 1¼ cups hot water
  • 1½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking grits, or cornmeal
  • ½-3/4 cup vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Filling
  • 20 ounces winter squash (about 2 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. To prepare wrappers: Place cornhusks in a large bowl, cover with hot water and weight with a heavy plate or pan to completely submerge them. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. To prepare batter: Put masa and 1¼ cups hot water in a large bowl; stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Beat ricotta, oil, baking powder and salt in another large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add grits (or cornmeal) and mix until combined. Add the ricotta mixture to the masa mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in broth ¼ cup at a time until the batter is very moist and spreadable, but not runny.
  3. To prepare filling: Place squash puree in a fine-mesh sieve and gently press on it to extract excess liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl and add beans, chiles and salt; stir until combined.
  4. To assemble tamales: Drain the cornhusks and pat dry. Sort through and pick out 16 large, unblemished husks to use as wrappers. Cut about 2 dozen thin, long strips from the remaining husks to use as ties (or use kitchen string instead). Cover the husks and ties with a damp towel to keep moist.
  5. Working on a clean surface, unfold one of the large cornhusks so it’s completely flat. Spread ⅓ cup of the batter in the center of the husk in a 4-inch square, leaving a wide border at the top and the bottom. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling in a thin strip down the length of the batter. Top the filling with 1 rounded teaspoon goat cheese.
  6. Bring the two long sides of the cornhusk together, causing the batter to completely surround the filling"but don’t fold the sides over the tamale yet. Fold the cornhusk ends in, then fold the sides around the tamale. If a cornhusk splits while you’re folding the tamale, just wrap a second husk right over the first and finish rolling. Tie the tamale closed using a thin strip of cornhusk. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 15 more tamales. (You may have a little batter and/or filling left over.)
  7. To steam tamales: Fill a large Dutch oven with 1 inch of water. Place a steamer basket in the pot and loosely place the tamales upright in the basket. Cover and steam over medium heat for 1 hour. Check the water level periodically and add more boiling water if necessary. The tamales are done when the batter is firm and easily pulls away from the wrapper.