Dr food and I decided to make tamales this weekend. The weather was cool and we had nothing to do. So, we started off early in the day forging for the ingredients. By noon we were hungry so we went to get some Pho at our favorite place in Worcester. The name of the place (but don't tell anyone one because I think it is getting too crowded here when we go) is Anh Thu Vietnamese Restaurant. When we were done there it was back home to cook.
We decided to make Green chili chicken tamales (a Diana Kennedy recipe) and a Pork butt in Colorado sauce Tamale (a Rick Bayless recipe). We also made green rice and cowboy beans (both Rick Bayless recipes).
Lots o lard
I should say that we had a virtual production line going on these things. We got the neighbors Cathy and Jeff over to help out and my nephew Paul was in town visiting. It was something to see. I didn't take pictures of the production because my crew was union and I would have had to pay them more if I took photos.
Then it was time from steaming
Voila.... little packages of beauty
and dinner was done
Recipe for the Green Poblano Rice (Arroz Verde al Poblano)
1 2/3 cups chicken broth
2 fresh poblano chiles, stems and seeds removed, and roughly chopped
12 sprigs cilantro (I used more)
Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon if using salted broth, 1 teaspoon if using unsalted or water
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 cup rice, preferably medium grain
1 small white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
The flavoring: In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the broth and chiles, bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer gently over medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the chiles are very soft. Pour the chile mixture into a food processor, add the cilantro (stems and all), and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl and stir in the salt.
The rice: Wipe the pan clean, add the oil and heat over medium. Add the rice and onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until the rice is chalky looking and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer.
Add the warm (or reheated) chile liquid to the hot rice pan, stir once, scrape down any rice kernels clinging to the side of the pan, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover and check a grain of rice: It should be nearly cooked through. If the rice is just about ready, turn off the heat, re-cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes longer to complete the cooking. If the rice seems far from done, continue cooking for 5 minutes or so, retest, then turn off the heat and let stand a few minutes longer. Fluff with a fork, scoop into a warm serving dish, decorate with cilantro sprigs and it's ready to serve.
Advance preparation: The rice can be made several days ahead; turn out the fluffed rice onto a baking sheet to cool, transfer to a storage container, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat the rice in a steamer basket set over boiling water.
Variations and improvisations: An obvious variation is to use 3 or 4 long green (Anaheim) chiles, or to mix poblanos and long greens with hotter chiles like jalapeño, manzano or habanero. Grilled corn cut from 1 cob or 1 large grilled zucchini (cubed) are tasty vegetable add-ins. About 1 cup coarsely shredded roast (or barbecued) pork or smoked salmon, mixed in toward the end of cooking, will make green rice a full meal.
So today I decided to pickle cherries. I got the recipe from my cooking pal Cathy Gori I have to wait a month before I can drop one of these puppies in my manhattan.