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Mushroom Tamales

From: Chef Hugo Ortega, Hugo's, Houston. Yield: 24 servings.

For Masa:

2 lb. fresh masa for tamales

½ cup lard, softened

½ cup chicken stock

to taste, salt

For Filling:

As needed, oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 oz. white onion, sliced

6 oz. button mushrooms, sliced

6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

½ oz. fresh parsely, chopped

to taste, salt and pepper

24 corn leaves, soaked in hot water

To make masa: Combine fresh masa with lard and stock in mixer using paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for about 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

To make filling: Heat oil in large sauté pan. Saute garlic, onion and mushrooms until just tender. Mix in parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Drain corn leaves. Working one at a time, lay out a leaf with pointed end facing you. Scoop 1½ oz. masa onto leaf and spread, forming a rectangle lengthwise ¾" from top and 1" from each side. Masa should only extend halfway down leaf. Spoon 1 tbsp. filing on top. Roll one side of leaf over filling. Roll over the other side to enclose it. Fold up bottom and tie tamale closed with a strip torn from another corn leaf.

To cook: Place tamales vertically in steamer with open ends facing up. Steam, covered, for 30 minutes until they fluff up and become somewhat firm. Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate. Resteam briefly to reheat.

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