This morning I woke up to that drip around the eaves – I finally turned on the heater today. Wet days I like to stay inside, but I won’t run the heater all day – instead I’ll do some cooking. Now’s the time to whip up a casserole big enough to eat for a few days. The other day my husband and I made tamales and we’re still talking about it.
I always think these things will take all day, so I put the rice on early to get that over with. First you should wash brown rice, it’s dusty.
I wash it around in a big pot, pour off the dirty water 4 or 5 times, then dump it in this ginchee wire colander for about 10 minutes to drain. Then I pour it out on a paper towel – or two – to dry for another half hour or so.
Time to pour it into boiling water – for each cup of rice use about 2 cups of water. Takes about 35 minutes – it’s done when the water is all boiled out. It’s nice to cook it early in the day and let it set, the kernels plump up and get chewy and nice.
That is probably the most involved part of this meal, and the rice doesn’t even go into the tamales, I like to put it underneath my tamales to catch the rich green dripping sauce. Actually, I put most of it in my dogs’ food, I’ll blog that another time.
About 4 pm my husband comes in from chores and gets the skillet out to cook the chicken filling. We use boneless chicken thighs for this dish, starting with some sauteed onions and green peppers (our friend is still giving us bags of his sweet peppers), and adding some canned corn and canned green chili sauce – MILD! We haven’t cooked our own beans since we started using Rosarita canned pintos – we’re not the best bean cookers, and when you get to be our age, it can be…hmmm…uncomfortable to eat poorly cooked beans, so we used canned. We add the onions, peppers, canned corn and a touch of chili sauce.
Meanwhile, I make the tortillas. Let me warn you – once you make your own tortillas, you will not only never want to eat store bought again, but you will notice every time you come close to the tortilla section of the store you will be repulsed by the smell of old tortillas.
I get into a rhythm – by the time I’ve pressed another cake, it’s time to turn the first, and by the time I get the second cake off the press and take it to the stove, time for the first cake to come off the skillet. I stack them on a little plate and wrap them in a paper towel.
Here we are, empty nesters, but we still make these huge dinners. For a minute as I looked at this pan, I thought, “oh no! This will end up going to waste! We’ll get sick of eating tamales at every meal!”
Well, that was Tuesday. Since then I have watched my husband get that pan out repeatedly – tamales and eggs for breakfast, cold tamales for lunch, and then last night, we heated up six of them and ate them again for dinner with sour cream and a big crunchy cabbage salad. I was shocked how good it tasted – in fact, this is a dish that is better left over. The fresh tortillas soak up the sauce and get all gooey and congealed, feels so good going down.
I still eat at Mexican restaurants and love the taco truck, but not as often.