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Tamale sausages.

Tamale sausages

They look like tamales, but when youopen them up and sample the contents, the corn-husk packets reveal sausages of well-seasoned meat or fish.

The dry husks take the place of sausagecasings, providing a simple and handsome way to enclose ground mixtures. Unlike casings, husks require no special equipment for stuffing. Just wrap the damp, pliable husk around the filling and tie the ends; then steam sausages until firm.

Husks are available in Mexican marketsand the Mexican section of many supermarkets. They are sometimes called hojas or ojas and usually come in 8-ounce bags for about $1.50; leftover dry husks keep almost indefinitely.

The easy-to-make fillings are based onfish (minced by hand or in a food processor) or purchased ground meat. Choose from fish seasoned with chili and cilantro, pork with spicy ground New Mexico chilies (available in Mexican stores and some supermarkets), and veal with herbs.

The sausages can be assembled a dayahead, then cooked to serve hot.

Fish Corn-husk Sausages

About 3 ounces dried corn husks


Fish filling (recipe follows)

Sour cream

Green taco salsa or sauce,prepared or homemade

Lime halves

Separate and sort through dried cornhusks, discarding silk and other extraneous material. In a large bowl, cover husks with warm water and let stand until pliable, at least 20 minutes or as long as overnight. Lift husks from water when ready to use and shake off excess water. Tear 1 husk along the grain to make 1/4-inch-wide ties as needed.

For each sausage, select a wide, pliable,drained corn husk. Lay flat on work surface. Spoon 1/4 cup filling along 1 long side of husk, forming filling into a 4-inch log; there should be about 2 inches of the husk exposed on each end. Starting on the filled side, roll husk up, then tie ends with husk strips to secure filling (if the husk is not wide enough to wrap around filling, set another husk alongside, overlapping edges). Repeat with remaining husks and filling. If made ahead, cover and chill up to overnight.

Place half of the sausages, overlappingslightly, on a rack that fits into a 5- to 6-quart pan. Or arrange in a 10- to 12-inch steaming basket. If you have a steamer that allows you to cook on more than 1 level at a time, stack racks or baskets when filled. Otherwise, steam half of the sausages at a time.

Pour 1/2 to 1 inch water in base of 5- to 6-quartpan, steamer, or a work if using steaming baskets. Set sausages over water; water should not touch bottom rack or basket. Cover and bring water to boiling; steam until filling is firm to touch and fish is opaque in center (cut to test), about 10 minutes; add boiling water as required.

Pile sausages in a basket or plate, or offerfrom steaming baskets. To eat, untie husk strips or slide them off; fold back or peel off husk to reveal sausage. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and lime. Makes about 24 sausages, 6 to 8 servings.

Fish filling. Trim crusts from 5 to 6 sliceswhite bread (reserve crusts for another use or discard). Tear bread into small pieces and whirl in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs form. Measure crumbs; you need 1 1/2 cups.

In a food processor, combine the 1 1/2 cupscrumbs; 2 pounds boned and skinned white fish fillets (such as seabass or rock fish), cut in about 1-inch chunks; 1 cup thinly sliced green onion; 1/2 cup whipping cream; 1/3 cup dry white wine; 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander); 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno chili; 2 large eggs; 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed; 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper; and 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Whirl until smoothly pureed. (Or, with a knife, finely chop fish. Add crumbs, onion, cream, wine, cilantro, chili, eggs, garlic, pepper, salt; stir until well blended.) Poach a spoonful to taste for salt.

Spicy Pork Corn-husk Sausages

Follow directions for fish corn-husk sausages(recipe precedes), except use this pork filling instead of fish:

Mix together 2 pounds ground lean pork;1 medium-size onion, minced; 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs; 2 large eggs; 1/4 cup ground New Mexico or California chilies; 1/3 cup red wine vinegar; 3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced; 2 teaspoons cumin seed; 1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves; and 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt. Poach a spoonful to taste for salt.

Steam as directed until firm to touch andno longer pink in center (cut to test), 10 to 15 minutes. Serve plain or with sour cream and prepared red taco sauce. Makes about 24 sausages, 6 to 8 servings.

Herb Veal Corn-husk Sausages

Follow directions for fish corn-husk sausages(recipe precedes), except use this veal filling instead of fish:

Mix together 2 pounds ground veal; 2large eggs; 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs; 1/2 cup chopped parsley; 1/3 cup dry white wine or regular-strength chicken broth; 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced; 2 teaspoons dry thyme leaves; 1 teaspoon rubbed sage; 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, and 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt. Poach a spoonful to taste for salt.

Steam as directed until firm to touch(meat remains slightly pink even when done), 10 to 15 minutes. Serve plain or with Dijon mustard. Makes 20 to 22 sausages, 5 or 6 servings.

Photo: Shape 1/4 cup filling into a 4-inch log,centering it along edge of husk. Roll up to enclose filling (below); tie ends with narrow strips of husk

Photo: Steam sausages in stacked baskets (orother steamer) until firm to touch

Photo: Ladle green salsa onto moist fish sausages seasoned with cilantro and chili; offer sour cream and lime to season. Serve with tomatoes and boiled beans
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:May 1, 1987
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