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Lou & Lucy’s Leftovers: Tamales

Lou Groccia and Lucy Pickett, the Gazette's self-proclaimed food experts, can't stop adding to their bucket lists.

Lou Groccia and Lucy Pickett, the Gazette's self-proclaimed food experts, can't stop adding to their bucket lists.

My food bucket list totals 179 items and counting.

The list was 180 and counting but I just made tamales for the first time.

A recent visit to The Latino Store, just over the bridge in Hadley, inspired my homemade tamales.

The owners of the store helped guide me through what to buy: dried corn husks, masa harina, sauces, condiments, queso fresco cheese, Crema Mexicana.

Making tamales is an easy but time-consuming process. Mix the tamale dough. Soak the corn husks. Make the filling. Spread the dough on the soaked husks. Place a dollop of filling on the dough. Roll the husk up around the dough. Tie off the bottom if desired. Steam for around an hour. Let cool. Unwrap. Warm up. Serve with sauce or sour cream or both.

Of course I watched about 15 YouTube videos about the whole process before I attempted anything. I did substitute shortening for the lard in the tamale dough. Next time I’ll use the lard but not tell my wife.

My filling was a mixture of my homemade refried beans, crumbled queso fresco, fire-roasted chiles, diced jalapenos and Crema Mexicana.

You can also make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate. You can also make the filling ahead of time. I think that’s the way to go. Then all you have to do is soak the husks and form the tamales and steam them.

So now I only have 179 items to go on my food bucket list. Better get cracking.

— LOU

Sounds complicated. I am not going to ask what else is on the list because that might take as long as those tamales took you.

— LUCY

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