My friend from El Salvador makes the most incredible tamales. I am not a tamale kind of girl. I don't really care for most of them. I find the dough part to be always dry and tasteless. (Except for the sweet ones of course). Anyways, she made them for me and I watched. Instead of buying the common masa flour from the market, she goes to a place called a " tortilleria", a tortilla shop and they sell " fresh Masa" in a plastic bag. The masa is made from boiled corn that is then freshly ground in the "molino". The taste is entirely different then the store bought masa.
Then she takes a big soup pot and boils it with water and chicken broth and slowly over half an hour drizzles olive oil and stirs it in. She adds a couple more things to season it up, but I can't really remember. Eventually it turns into a creamy meal, it looks like a polenta or almost cream of wheat. The smell and taste is amazing. It makes you want to just sprinkle some cinammon and sugar and eat it right there.
Then she takes the filling which is comprised of a delicious rich chicken stew wtih the red achiote sauce, but so much more flavorful then the mexican one that I am acustomed to. Not spicy at all ,just flavorful. (I'm leaving out a lot of steps, I am trying to condense this as much as possible). She takes fresh banana leaves and fills them with the masa quickly, because if you don't do it in time, the masa begins to congeal the same way cream of wheat does. Then she spoons some of the chicken stew, a couple garbanzo beans, a sliver of boiled potato and a slice of green bell pepper. She then seals the tamale.
Once the tamales are cooked, even after being in the fridge for a day or two, the masa is never dry, its so moist almost like a corn pudding but a bit firmer. It really melts in your mouth. It is savory and filling.
Ok, so here is my dilemma: I want to make a party and serve the tamales but I have no idea what to serve them with. Does anybody have any ideas what would go well with them? I don't want to have anything overpower them and they are so filling that I don't really want to serve anything to heavy with them. What do you think?
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