I can't say the idea to use tamales as a stuffing is unique to me. I first saw the concept as a stuffing for Cornish hens and after I created the recipe I saw it as a stuffing for a boneless turkey roll in the local newspaper. Neither was exactly like mine, but I just wanted to be sure everyone understood I wasn't taking credit for being the first one to think of it!
My tamale stuffing goes inside a pumpkin. It makes a lovely vegetarian holiday main course or a great vegetable side dish this time of year. We enjoyed it with some vegetarian bulgur chili (watch for that post.) I used some of Primavera's wonderful gourmet tamales, but you could use any kind of cheese or, better yet, cheese and chile, tamale. Just add in some chopped vegetables of your choice to the initial saute. Truly a great way to celebrate a harvest festival!
Here's a quick recap of how to make the recipe
One good size kabocha (Japanese green) pumpkin, top removed, strings and seeds removed
1/2 cup of milk
4 cheese tamales (I used Primavera's white corn and zucchini tamales in roasted tomato chipotle salsa with jack cheese)
2 Tbs. olive or other oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
If needed (depending on tamales) -- salsa, chopped chiles, 1/4 cup corn kernels, 1/4 chopped zucchini or other ingredients to taste.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Regular or Smoked Paprika
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pumpkin in roasting pan. Put milk inside pumpkin. Cook for about 20 minutes until pumpkin flesh is just starting to get soft. Steam tamales, unwrap from husks, set aside. Saute onion and garlic in oil until onion is browned. If using additional ingredients, add them to the onions and garlic and saute until softened. Crumble tamales into saute, breaking up and combining with other ingredients. Add salt and pepper as desired. Pack into pumpkin, stirring any milk remaining on the bottom into the mixture. Sprinkle paprika on top. Return to oven and bake another 45-60 minutes until the pumpkin flesh is soft and the stuffing heated through. When serving be sure to scoop out some of the pumpkin with the filling.