I love hot tamales but rarely have the time (and definitely don’t have the counter space) to make them at home. Thankfully, there are some pretty amazing tamale cooks around who can satisfy my cravings.
But I have come up with a way to get some of the flavors of a tamale, and it's pretty easy. Flavor skirt steak and then cook it low and slow until it shreds easily and serve it over grits.
Stone ground grits provide the corn flavor of the masa dough that's spread on a corn husk and wrapped so it blankets the meat inside the tamale. I've also come up with a simple enchilada sauce, which brings the dish together. You can also use this sauce for burritos, stuffed peppers and, of course, beef or cheese enchiladas.
I found all of my ingredients locally, too. I purchased the skirt steak at a local butcher shop so that it was as fresh as I could get it. I also used the yellow stone ground grits and a trio of bright red, yellow and orange bell peppers that I picked up at the farmers market.
While delicious, this little dish is a far cry from old-fashioned tamales, but I will definitely keep in the rotation to quench my cravings. And, because my youngest, whose palate is most discerning, has requested I make it again soon.
Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.