Tamale Sauces in Tilly’s Test Kitchen

Although making tamales themselves is quite a time-consuming task, there was no way I was about to serve them “naked” and risk the authentic tamale taste elude the family a day longer. Committing to make them meant I was committed to the end, so spending another couple of hours throwing together a few sauces to determine which one would best complement the roasted pork and tender masa wrapping was not a step to be skipped.

The first sauce I decided to try was one for an enchilada sauce without tomato additives. What I was looking for was something along the lines of a Mexican chili tasting sauce. Being that the recipe didn’t have any tomato, I was hopeful. As I threw all the ingredients together and simmered it on the stove, however, I found the recipe as written was a bit gritty and over-spiced with chili powder. The flavor I was hoping for wasn’t there, or at least it wasn’t prominent enough. After a little tweaking and simmering the sauce for another 20 minutes, the sauce came together nicely. I’m still going to play with it a bit in the future, but for now, it works pretty well with the tamales.

Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce

DSCF3281

  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 3 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 3 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Peanut Oil

The first step in making this sauce was to make a roux. In a medium fry pan heat the peanut oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the flour. Stir with a whisk until thoroughly combined and bubbly.

Turn heat down to medium and add the remaining spices, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

Turn heat back up to medium-high and slowly add the chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until slightly thickened.

Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer on stove for 20-30 minutes. This will allow the spices to infuse the sauce.

The second sauce I decided to try with the tamales was the enchilada sauce I canned back in August 2015. Check out my post at Simply Grateful Canning for Fresh Enchilada Sauce. This sauce is tomato based and has a familiar Mexican flavor that the family enjoys in many dishes I prepare. Being that this sauce was ready to go right off the shelf, all I had to do was heat and eat — definitely a plus after the hours I’d already spent in the kitchen. The drawback was the fact that this sauce was used in other Mexican dinners I served and therefore made the tamales have too much of a familiar taste. I really wanted this meal to be different than my other Mexican dishes. In a pinch it would suffice, but it would definitely not be my first choice.

The final sauce I opted to serve with the tamales was some of the reserved broth from the roasting of the pork. The broth had all the flavors that made the pork pop, but by thickening it and serving on the side as a dipping sauce, it worked very well. The complex flavor of the spices was a bit strong, which is why I served this one on the side, rather than drizzling it on top. In the future I think I would like to add some additional chicken stock to the broth, cook it down a bit, and then thicken with a corn starch slurry. This way the flavor of the pork would be accentuated by the sauce and not compete with it.

I served the tamales with all three sauces, sour cream, cheese, and salsa. Next time I think I’d like to also serve some finely diced onion and green pepper, as well as possibly some lettuce.

As for the sauces, well, there was no clear winner. Hubby and Grace liked the enchilada sauce without tomato, Zeb liked my canned enchilada sauce, and I preferred the thickened broth on the side. In my opinion I thought that dipping the tamales in sauce on the side allowed more of the flavor of the pork and masa to shine, but that’s just me.

Although there was no clear winner here, I am glad I experimented with all the sauces. Perhaps when I serve these next time I’ll just serve one sauce, then a different one the next time. By switching up the sauces it will sort of be like serving different meals, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce

  • Servings: Approximately 3 Cups
  • Print

DSCF3281

 

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 3 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 3 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Peanut Oil

Directions

  1. The first step in making this sauce was to make a roux. In a medium fry pan heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the flour. Stir with a whisk until thoroughly combined and bubbly.
  2. Turn heat down to medium and add the remaining spices, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  3. Turn heat back up to medium-high and slowly add the chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until slightly thickened.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer on stove for 20-30 minutes. This will allow the spices to infuse the sauce.

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