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Vegetarian Tamales

Vegetarian Tamales

From: Corporate chef Beat Giger, Pebble Beach Resorts, CA. Yield: 8 servings.

4 Garden Hearts® Petite Hearts of Romaine Lettuce

2½ cups masa

3 cups vegetable stock (warm)

¾ cup butter (melted)

1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

1½ cups chopped artichoke hearts

2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

to taste, cumin, salt and pepper

as needed for garnish, cilantro sprigs

Tomatillo Salsa (3 cups):

1½ lb. tomatillos

½ cup white onion, chopped

½ cup cilantro leaves

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped

¼ tsp. sugar

to taste, salt

For salsa: Remove papery tomatillo husks and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut-side down on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 5-7 minutes until skin is lightly blackened. Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro (reserving 8 sprigs for garnish), lime juice, jalapeno peppers and sugar in food processor or blender and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season with salt to taste and refrigerate

For tamales: Combine masa, vegetable stock and ½ cup butter; mix until it's a smooth consistency. Gently add sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and cheese. Season with cumin, salt and pepper. If mixture is too dry, add more vegetable stock. Cover mixture to keep moist.

Rinse Garden Hearts® and separate into leaves. Cut off end of stems so all leaves are 6-7" long. Blanch Garden Hearts® leaves for 15 seconds; shock in ice water, remove and place on paper towels. Roll about 3-4 oz. of masa mixture into cylinder shape. You'll need a total of 16 pieces each about 6" long and 1" diameter. Wrap each masa piece in 3-4 Garden Hearts® leaves and then wrap each tamale tightly in plastic wrap. Chiffonade remaining romaine into small strips and set aside. Steam tamales for 20-25 minutes in double boiler. Let tamales rest for 10 minutes before gently removing from plastic wrap.

As tamales rest, saute remaining lettuce chiffonade in remaining ¼ cup melted butter and season with cumin, salt and pepper.

To serve: place thin layer of sauteed lettuce on plate, place one whole tamale on lettuce, cut second tamale into 1" wheels and place in front of whole tamale. Serve with tomatillo salsa.