Tag Archives: corn

TAMALE TAMALE TAMALE! The Gentleman’s Holiday Tamale-day

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I used to live much further uptown than I presently do. I didn’t much care for it. If I can avoid the perils of humanity that one encounters on the New York City subway, I certainly do.

But there used to be (probably still is) a little Columbian or Dominican or Guatemalan or Salvadoran (you get the gist) lady at the subway exit. She had an igloo ice chest with her and she would yell, “TAMALE TAMALE TAMALE!” And people bought tamales.

In many Latin American cultures, making tamales at Christmastime is a beloved tradition. I love tamales. When I was a kid, after we’d slaughter a cow, we’d take the head to this old Mexican lady, and she would make us batches and batches of delicious, greasy tamales.

The Gentleman Caller is not in the practice of stewing cow heads. Not that I wouldn’t, it’s just not super accessible to me presently. However, we are definitely going to make some tamales.

In this recipe, I am repurposing leftover holiday turkey! Hooray, a very well cloaked use for holiday turkey. I also brought the fat content waaaay down. I am (unapologetically) using lard. You can use shortening. But lard is more traditional, and you aren’t using that much.

So don your sombrero and let’s cook.

What you need:

  • 1/2 pound spicy chorizo, uncased
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 large white onion, diced
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic*
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons fajita seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic flakes
  • 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis
  • 1 1/2 pounds leftover turkey, white, dark or both**
  • 3/4 cup lard or shortening
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 quart plus 1/2 cup (approximate) chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 30 dried corn husks

*Toss garlic cloves with oil. Put them in a foil pouch in the oven at 250 for an hour or so. 

**You may substitute rotisserie chicken or any other leftover poultry. 

Put your corn husks in a large bowl with warm water covering them. Allow to sit at least an hour.

In a dutch oven, bring olive oil to near smoking. Add chorizo and onion, stirring and breaking up the chorizo. Add the roasted garlic and get it smashed into the mixture. When the sausage is cooked, add paprika, fajita seasoning, chili powder, garlic flakes and onion flakes. Let the spices open up on the heat. This is probably starting to stick a little, so throw in the Rotel. The liquid will deglaze a bit. Add the 1/2 cup stock. Add the leftover turkey. Turn the heat to low. Allow to cook on low till the meat is shred-able. Allow it to cool.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the lard at high speed until it’s creamy and whippy (yes, I just invented that word). Stir masa, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and white pepper together in another bowl. Add to the lard one cup at a time. After the third cup of dry ingredients, you may start incorporating the stock as well. Alternate dry mixture and stock. Mix just until everything is smooth.

Set up your work station.

Take a couple of corn husks and tear them into 1/3 inch strips. These are your ties. You may also use cooking twine.

Assemble your bowls in an order that makes sense to assemble these suckers. Leave the husks in water; you’ll need to continue to wet your hands as you mash the masa.

Lay a corn husk down on the work surface. Take approximately 1/3 cup masa mixture and mash it into a rectangle. Please refer to the video; it is helpful. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling to the center of the masa. Roll the two edges together, smoosh from the bottom up like a tube of toothpaste, and tie a simple knot across the middle with your corn husk ties.

Repeat. And repeat.

Find a tall pot. Put a steamer basket in the bottom. Line the bottom with corn husks. Put enough water in the bottom to just reach the husks.

Stand the tamales upright in the pot. Leaning them into the sides of the pot helps. Put a lid on the top. Crank up the gas so the water simmers.

About every 15 minutes, check the water level. You will need to add water.

Steam for about an hour. You’ll be able to see when the dough is done. An hour, an hour and fifteen should do it.

Allow them to cool in the pot.

You can eat these plain as they are right now, or you can top them. I am going to make a chili sauce for topping. Here’s the link: http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentleman-callers-all-purpose-chili-sauce-1/

These freeze really well. Just leave them in the husk, wrap with foil and place in a zip top bag in the freezer. To reheat, allow to thaw, cover with a clean, wet kitchen towel and microwave.

Holy frijoles, these are deliciouso. Olé for now.

xo – The Gentleman Caller





Corn Cake Louise


Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Cornbread. Like barbecue, it comes in innumerable incarnations and everyone thinks theirs is the best. Well, they can all go to hell because mine actually IS THE BEST.

Cornbread has remained an enduring staple because it goes with practically everything. This recipe doesn’t make a large quantity; I am rarely cooking for the masses. However, it doubles and triples very well. The yield on this is about 9 servings.img_8444-3

This recipe is the one I grew up eating that my sweet Mawmaw made for me. I have altered it ever so slightly only because I love green chilis. If you don’t like them, leave them out.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter flavor Crisco (Don’t judge. Do it.)
  • 1 16 oz can creamed corn
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 4 oz can green chilis


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl. In another bowl or 4-cup pyrex, add creamed corn to melted butter flavor Crisco. If you REALLY have a problem with this, you can use melted butter. Butter flavor Crisco, for some reason, imparts a different texture in the final product. When I make pie crust I use half butter, half Crisco. It’s not good for you. Don’t eat it every day. But every once in a while, no big deal. OK, rant over. Beat in eggs, buttermilk and green chilis.

Now it’s time to make a choice: you can bake this in a greased 8×8 in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.

Second choice: Put a 12 inch cast iron skillet in a 400 degree oven and get it hot. Drop a dollop of BUTTER FLAVOR CRISCO in the hot skillet, swirl to coat the bottom and sides, add the batter. Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. (check it at 25 minutes)

Third, and my favorite, choice: on the stove top, heat a cast iron skillet or comal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comal_(cookware) and grease it up. It shouldn’t smoke, but get close to smoking. Use a half cup ladle or measuring cup to pour out a corn batter pancake on the hot surface. Use the bottom of the ladle to spread the batter a little as if you were making a fat crepe. Wait till the batter is slightly bubbling to flip. When the cake is browned on both sides, remove and enjoy. Try to only flip once.**


Please don’t blame me for your impending addiction to this recipe.

That’s all for now, friends.

The Gentleman Caller


**If you want to up the ante, ladle half the batter onto the hot surface, spread it slightly, add a sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese, pour the other half of the batter on the cheese and spread slightly. YUM.