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Default Oaxacan Pumpkin Tamales (Tamales Miahuatecos)

In response to a request for authentic Mexican main dishes and pastries

Oaxacan Pumpkin Tamales (Tamales Miahuatecos)

A savory pumpkin tamale recipe By Larry Luttropp, LA Times

Makes: 12 tamales

1 pound banana leaves -- thawed or Frozen OR corn husks
2 cups (heaping) Maseca corn flour (recipe for making your own)
2 cups to 2 1/2 cups warm chicken stock or water
1/2 pound lard
2 cups pureed cooked or canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground canela (cinnamon)
3 ounces piloncillo -- grated or crushed or 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar,

Bean Filling

2 cups water
2 teaspoons anise
2 To 3 pasilla de Oaxaca chiles OR dried chipotle chiles or canned
in adobo sauce.
2 cups To 2 1/2 cups cooked or
Canned black beans, drained
5 To 6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons Lard

Prepare Bean Filling

Put water in small pan, add anise and boil until reduced by half. Strain
and reserve infusion. If using pasilla de Oaxaca or dried chipotles, cover
with boiling water and let soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain
and remove stems. Canned chipotles need no preparation. Working in
batches, if necessary, puree beans with chiles, garlic and anise infusion
in blender or food processor fitted with steel blade. Melt lard in heavy
skillet or wide, shallow saucepan over high heat. When very hot, add bean
puree, watching for splatters. Reduce heat to medium and simmer,
uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until liquid is
evaporated. Season to taste with salt. Cool to room temperature.

Assemble Tamales Unfold banana leaves, being careful not to split them
unnecessarily. Wipe with clean damp cloth and pat dry. With kitchen
scissors, trim leaves into 12 to 14 rectangles, each about 14x11inches.
Save some of the longer trimmings for ties.

Mix masa harina in a bowl or pot with enough warm stock to make soft but
not sticky dough. Beat lard in separate large bowl on medium speed until
very light and fluffy. Add masa harina mixture and pumpkin puree to lard
little at time, beating on medium speed and scraping down as needed.
Mixture should be as light as butter cream. Beat in cinnamon, piloncillo
and salt to taste. Place 1 or 2 banana leaf rectangles flat on work space
(or soaked corn husks). Tear off some long, thin strips from reserved
banana leaf trimmings. Place 2/3 to 1 cup masa mixture in center of leaf
and with spatula or fingers spread into 3x4x1/2-inch thick oval. Place 1
heaping tablespoon Bean Filling in center of oval, Fold left and right
edges of banana leaf toward center to meet, overlapping little to cover
filling, then fold top and bottom edges to center to make a neat, flat
package about 4x5 inches. Fasten by tying with thin strip of banana leaf.
Repeat with remaining banana leaves, masa and filling. Steam the tamales
for 45 - 50 minutes.

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