What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

There’s this place in town – it’s called Feast. I visited their tent at the farmers market last summer and ordered a tamale or two every Saturday. Or, we’d take my mom to have some at the restaurant with some eggs and their fresh tomatillo salsa verde (she’d always buy 2 dozen frozen to take home). They’re amazing: Words just can’t do justice for this husk-wrapped brick of heaven.

Enter Whole30 eating: the farmers market experience is now less about eating and more about making sure we have food for the week. Sadly – tear! – these Saturday adventures no longer include a trip to the Feast tent. Since corn doesn’t quite make the Whole30 cut, I had to figure out a way to make some of my own.

What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

After a few experiments, I finally found an interesting combo of sweet potatoes + chorizo that is a little sweet and very savory. The secret to these Whole30 tamales is that your fillings must be tasty! What I love is that this isn’t just one recipe, because there are countless ways to substitute with these ingredients – you could try squash or plantains instead of sweet potatoes for the dough, and the combinations of fillings are endless. Tamales are both worthwhile and time-consuming, so make ahead and scarf down later. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato-Chorizo Tamales (Whole30 and Paleo Friendly)

Serves 4, or 3 hungry runners
Demonstration photos taken with the help of my handsome assistant, Ben

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups almond flour
2 3/4 cups sweet potatoes, mashed (cheat: microwave them)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder (on the flour & baking shelf in the organic section)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
Dried corn husks

Filling:
Your pick! Shoot for 3/4 pound.
Try seasoned, shredded pork or chicken, or even vegetables.
Feeling creative? Check out these unique combos from Feast.
I kept it simple and used my favorite – very flavorful – chorizo from Schacht Farm table at the farmers market and threw in some chopped cilantro. Yes, cook the meat before you fill your tamales!

Directions:

The Dough
1) Soak dried corn husks in water for a few hours until moldable. I had to sink mine in water with a bowl overnight.

What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

2) Combine sweet potatoes, almond flour, eggs, and salt in a food processor or mixer. Mix well.

3) Add arrowroot powder to help thicken the dough. If 2 tbsp is not enough, add more arrowroot powder. The dough should not be too sticky or watery.

Filling & Prep
4) Prepare the filling – cook the meat, slice/dice vegetables, and chop herbs.
What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

5) Rip corn husks into thin strips – these will be used to tie them together later.

Assembly
If you have everything you need within reach, this shouldn’t get too messy…What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales


6) Place a corn husk onto your prep surface. Drop a spoonful of the dough onto the corn husk (again, it should not be sticky. Spread it out across the corn husk. If it’s sticky, add a bit more almond flour.
What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo TamalesWhat We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales
7) Sprinkle a few tablespoons of meat onto the dough. Top sparingly with any herbs or vegetables.What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

8) Here’s the tricky part! Fold the bottom of the corn husk up. It’ll make a little pocket to fold the meat in. Let the corn husk you just folded over lay back down.
What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

9) Fold the meat in with the husk on each of the sides, so that the filling now disappears inside the dough.
What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

10) Use the corn husk to wrap the tamale like a piece of candy, pinching at both ends.

11) Tie the corn husk at each end using the thin strips.

What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

Now, the tamales are ready to cook or freeze (throw them in a sealed freezer bag and they’ll be ready when you want to cook them in the future).

What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

Bonus round: I ran out of corn husks, so we made some open-faced tamales out of the remaining dough (plus one more egg) and meat. They baked on a cookie sheet at 400º for 20 minutes, topped off with 3-5 minutes of broiling until toasted. They turned out more like mini chorizo pizzas – tasty both ways!

What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

Cooking
Steam for 10 minutes in a steamer pot.
OR bake at 375º F for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet.

Eating
Top with some easily-modified mole sauce or tomatillo salsa verde, unwrap, and DEVOUR.

What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

 

What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

One thought on “What We Ate: Sweet Potato Chorizo Tamales

  1. Ering
    August 30, 2013 at 11:49 am

    FINALLY!!! THE SECRET IS OUT!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *