Thursday, April 23, 2009

Instant Tamale

The task at hand is four cords of wood to be stacked. It seems like we just got over winter to be thinking about firewood but, in a way, the job is made easier by the recent memory of knitting by the fire when snow is falling outside.
Work in progress

"You get some kind of zen satisfaction from stacking firewood" my husband observes. I'll admit, I do. There's something good and honest about it, like growing your own food. On top of that you get as your reward, neatly stacked firewood all ready for when the north wind blows. How does that not make you feel cozy?

This Instant Tamale is what I make when I've been outdoors all day stacking wood or weeding the garden. It's based on a recipe from my dog eared copy of Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook, not an authentic tamale but when you're too busy to cook, this one is fast and easy. The leftover is reason enough to make this dish, and the flavor is even better the next day.

Instant Tamale fresh from the oven

With pre-made polenta and store bought salsa, dinner takes no more than 15 minutes to put together and the rest is done by the oven.

26.5 oz can black beans with juice
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup tomato salsa
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground chipotle (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
18 oz roll prepared polenta
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil 8" x 11 1/2" baking pan. Empty the beans and their juice into a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add the corn, salsa, cumin, chipotle and salt and mix well. Set aside. Slice polenta into 1/4" thick rounds. Arrange the rounds in the prepared baking pan slightly overlapping. Pour the bean mixture evenly over the polenta. Sprinkle on the cilantro and top with the grated cheese. Cover and bake 15 minutes, uncover and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes until the beans are bubbly and the cheese is melted. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Amy D said...

This looks great! I'll get supplies next time I'm at Trader Joe's, thanks for the recipe and photos.

jennifermazzucco said...

ting! i love that you get zen over stacking firewood!!! you are so awesome:) i am gearing up for my weekend of unplugged bliss... wish you were close by so that we could make art in the sunshine on our deck... i love your newest recipe but can't eat cheese for now - maybe i'll try to find some soy cheese:) i know it won't be the same, but it's worth a try! hope you are well...xoxjennifer

Christine said...

Polenta is one of my favorite foods, so I cant wait to make/eat this dish. Thanks, Ting!! And I love that stack of wood!

Ting said...

Thanks for your comment Christine. Had a great time last night and now we're off to pick up the siblings. Have a good Fourth.

HousiGirl said...

Trink requested your Tamale for the poker guys last Thursday night. I made my own polenta, then spread it in the pan, letting the sit in the 'fridge until I finished the preps later in the day. Also roasted red & green peppers which I had on hand & then added as part of the topping. The dish was a huge hit w/the guys; I've enjoyed the leftovers cold. The recipe's a keeper!

HousiGirl said...

OPC Prez requested your Tamale Pie which is perfect for a cold winter night. Just happened to have OMagosh pickled jalapenos on hand, so I chopped a few & added them to the mix, along with my own polenta. Your recipe is as yummy as ever!

Ting said...

HousiGirl, you're so good about making your own polenta. I've added pickled jalapenos also AND serve them on the side. Hot!