Tender and slightly toasted corn meal is folded together with potatoes to make a light and airy tamale dough. Filling that dough with spiced collard greens, almonds and farmers cheese brings the flavors of north Africa to the center of the plate. A delicious pepper sauce known as harissa really brings out the complexity in this deceivingly simple dish.
3 cups Masa Harina (Corn Tortilla Flour)
1-1/2 cups Potato Flakes or Instant Mashed Potatoes
3 cups Vegetable Stock
8 ounces Lard or Vegetable Shortening
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
3 cups Yellow Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1-1/2 cup Yellow Onion, chopped fine
3 cups Collard Greens, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
¼ teaspoon All-Spice, Ground
3 cups Vegetable Stock
As Needed Kosher Salt
As Needed Black Pepper, freshly ground
2 cups Farmers Cheese or Queso Fresco, crumbled
1 cup Sliced Almonds, Toasted
30 each Corn Husks for Tamales, soaked for 1 hour in water
Prep Time: 120min | Cook Time: 45min
Combine lard, salt, and baking powder and, using an electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until well whipped, about 1 minute. Add one-fourth of the masa at a time to the lard, beating between additions until thoroughly incorporated. Add vegetable stock and continue beating until dough is light and has a soft and spreadable hummus-like texture. Cover masa with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove masa from refrigerator and re-whip, adding additional vegetable stock 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to return it to original hummus-like texture. Use tamale dough in any tamale recipe (see links above for ideas, assembly, and cooking instructions).
Put the potato in a lightly salted water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions and collard greens in the olive oil, for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender and translucent. Stir in the potato and spices. Deglaze with the vegetable stock, continue to cook and braise the greens until they are tender and the mixture is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Fold in the farmers cheese and almonds.
Place roughly ¼ cup of the masa dough on the soaked corn husk. Spread the dough in a thin layer and then spoon 3 tablespoons of the potato-collard green filling down the center of the masa dough. To seal take both ends of the corn husk and roll them together so the masa dough comes together around the filling, similar to a burrito. Arrange on sheet pan with the folded side of the tamales facing down. Repeat until all the tamales are done.
Place into a steamer for 45 minutes or until the dough is tender and the tamales are hot throughout.
Top with your favorite salsa, relish or condiments. A perfect pairing for this would be Harissa, a smoky and slightly spicy sauce made of peppers and almonds.
Serve immediately. The cooked tamales can also be cooled and frozen up to 6 weeks in advance.
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