In this time of uncertainty and separation I’ve been reflecting on the people and things that matter the most to me.
Right now cooking feels more sentimental than usual.
I’m cooking each night and feeling grateful for my family.
At the same time, I’m missing my other family. My cooks.
I wanted to cook something in honor of the people who support me the most and who in this time need the most support.
This dish and this recipe, does not belong to me but I’m proud to bring its traditions into my home tonight because it’s near to my heart.
This recipe comes from Audel Gonzalez and his family. It was passed to me like a gift like most recipes are.
Audel is from Puebla Mexico,
We met 10 years ago and have stood just a few feet apart, working day in and day out, hours on end and through honestly some of the hardest shit nyc has had to offer.
Each year at Christmas, his wife makes this recipe and he brings in some for all of us in the kitchen. I miss my guys, I miss my kitchen, I miss my team and most of all I miss our closeness.
If you do attempt to cook this recipe, remember the most important ingredients are some love. The tomales do not need to be perfect and the more you make the better you’ll get it making them.
Keep it real
“Sin Maíz No Hay País”
Tamales with Mussels and Shrimp in Red Sauce.
Makes about 12-14 Tamales
- 8 Dried Guadillo Peppers, tops removed and seeds removed
- 3 Dried Puja Peppers, tops removed and seeds removed
- 1/4 White Onion
- 1/2 Tablespoon dried Oregano
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
- 2 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 3 Whole Black Pepper Corn
- 2 Cups Chicken Stock
Place peppers in chicken stock and simmer until peppers are reconstituted.
Remove peppers from stock and put in a blender.
Add cumin, oregano, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns and blend. Slowly add the chicken stock the peppers were simmered in until a smooth sauce forms, about the consistency of tomato sauce.
Season with salt to taste.
- 1/2 Pound Mussels, scrubbed and beard removed
- 14-16 U-16 Shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail removed.
- 6 oz beer, preferably Mexican.
- 4 Cups Masa Arina or Tomal Flour.
- 1.5 Cups Vegetable Shortening, whipped to soften
- 2.5 Cups Chicken Stock or Water
- 2 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Banana Leaf Cut into 9″x9″ Squares (usually found in frozen section) You can substitute for dried corn husk but the banana leaf makes these tomales super moist. If your using corn husk you will need to soak.
Butchers twine is optional. I demonstrate tying them but they can also be simply folded.
Heat beer in a saute pan until boiling. Add mussels and toss for just a minute until barely open. Remove mussels and set aside.
Take a golf ball sized piece of masa dough and spread out evenly in center of leaf about a 1/4″
place one raw shrimp and one mussel on top of filling and pour about a tablespoon or so over.
Roll up each side until sides of filling form around shrimp and mussels, fold over each side and tie like a present.
Pour water into the bottom of the pot or steamer, if you have extra stock you can add that as well.
Add Tomales, stacked vertically and cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Turn off heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Enjoy and pass along the love!
If you prefer to use chicken, you can take skinless and boneless chicken thighs, and simmer in 1 quart of water or chicken stock, 2 cloves garlic, black pepper, 2 bay leaves, 4 Tablespoons salt. For about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from water and shred. You can use the cooking liquid for peppers, tamale dough, etc.