Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Tamal Stuffed Mushrooms

I recently visited Tucson and had the good fortune to eat at El Charro restaurant. It's been in business for over 100 years, and there's some very delicious reasons why! I've had something different each time I've visited there, and everything has always been delicious. This time, I had an appetizer that was stuffed with a vegan tamale mixture, and it was soooo tasty that I had to make my best approximation of it when I got home. If you're ever in Tucson, make sure to eat at El Charro in Old Town - it's one of my all-time favorites!


20 baby portobella mushrooms or 4 large portobellas

1 cup masa harina
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup to 1 cup broth

1/4 cup cooked quinoa
2 Tbs chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped nopalitos, rinsed, drained, and patted dry (or Anaheim chilis)
1/4 cup corn, cut off the cob, or microwaved and drained if frozen, or drained if canned

1/2 cup green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup green salsa
1/4 cup nopalitos, rinsed, drained, and patted dry

1 cup fresh tomato salsa
1 cup fresh avocado salsa or guacamole

Directions: Heat the oven to 325F. Prepare the mushrooms by removing the stems. If you're using the larger portobello mushrooms, scrape out and discard the brown gills. The smaller mushrooms won't usually have ripened gills, so they won't need to be removed. Prepare the tamale filling by mixing the masa together with the baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Pour in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, then use your hands to mix everything together. When squeezed, the mixture should slightly hold together. If it doesn't, add the additional teaspoon of olive oil and mix together by hand. Add 3/4 cup of chicken or vegetable broth and mix with a mixing spoon. If the mixture is very dry, add another 1/4 cup of stock. Fold in the quinoa, onion, nopalitos, and corn. Choose a baking dish that will hold the mushrooms in one layer. Mix the enchilada sauce, salsa, and nopalitos together, then pour enough of the sauce to cover the bottom of the baking dish about 1/4 inch deep. Generously fill each mushroom with some of the tamale filling then place in the baking dish. When the dish is full, cover tightly with either foil or a tight-fitting lid (I used both!) and bake for 45 minutes. Check to see if the filling is cooked and the salsa sauce is bubbling. Cook an additional 15 minutes if needed. Serve by spooning some of the green enchilada sauce mixture over the mushrooms, along with the tomato salsa and avocado on the side. 

Serves 4, more as an appetizer

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Nopalitos are available canned, with a surprising amount of spice to them! They'll add tons of flavor to your dish. If you can't find them, use canned or fresh Anaheim chilis. 

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