Vegan Tamal de Cazuela / Rustic Baked Vegan Tamale

A few years back I ventured into the world of catering and the main item on my menu were tamales. Mia’s Tamales did pretty well, but it was work…a lot of work.  I prepared my own masa and offered a variety of fillings. Hard work paid off because those tamales had a pretty hefty following. Mia’s Tamales closed it’s kitchen for good about 1 year after opening.  I still make them for my family on special occasions with one simple twist…they are now vegan, which makes me happy. I like to imagine that one day I will own a small vegan cafe, where I will serve my vegan tamales and make people happy.

I’ve experimented with various fillings.  Potatoes and fire roasted green chiles in spicy tomato sauce make a delicious vegan tamale.  Baking the entire thing in a paella pan is genius! Plus you get a crispy edge that steamed tamales don’t have.  This feeds a crowd of about 8- 10 people.  You will make people happy and they will love you, if you make them a Tamal de Cazuela.

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 4 potatoes
  • 8 ripe roma tomatoes
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 3 -4 jalapeno peppers
  • 5 anaheim green chiles
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the Masa

  • 4 cups maseca masa harina
  • 4 cups warm vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup earth balance organic

Preparation

Step 1 – heat oven to 375 degrees; make the masa; in a mixing bowl add the 4 cups of masa harina, baking powder, salt and mix together very well using a whisk; pour in the warm broth, mix until well combined, add the 1/3 cup oil and continue to mix, cover with plastic wrap and set aside; add the earth balance to a mixer and process until soft and fluffy, add in the dough a little at a time mix for 3 minutes on high-speed until the masa resembles humus; cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Step 2 – make the filling; peel and chop the potatoes into small bite size pieces, add them to a pot, cover with water and cook until tender about 12-15 minutes, drain and set aside ; roast the anaheim chiles on a comal or skillet turning until they are charred and soft, place them in a plastic bag to sweat for 15 minutes, remove the skins, seeds and stems, slice into thin strips; chop the tomato and add them to a blender with the garlic, jalapenos, cumin, 2 tsp salt, oregano and 1/2 cup of water, blend until smooth; heat 2 tsp oil in a pan and pour in the tomato sauce, cook 15 – 20 minutes until slightly reduced; finally stir in the potatoes and chili strips.

Step 3 – I baked my tamal in a paella pan, you can use any casserole dish or a cast iron pan; lightly oil the pan or casserole dish with oil, use 2 cups of the masa for the bottom of the tamale, spread evenly with a rubber spatula; cover the bottom layer of masa with the filling, spread it out in an even layer; top the filling with the rest of the masa, it will be messy but try your best to spread the masa over the filling; no worries if the filling is showing through, rustic is what we are going for here; cover the pan or dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in a hot oven for 1 hour; after cooking time is up let it sit for 1 more hour to set. Enjoy!

-Mia

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