I made each filling exactly the same except on included dried cranberries & the other fresh. The fresh version took on a nice pink color thanks to the cranberry juice.
Cranberry Tamale Filling
2 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
1 1/2 c grated quesadilla cheese
1 c chopped cranberries, fresh or dried
2 T heavy cream
Makes enough for 12 tamales (visit our original tamale post for directions on making tamales)
I made 6 tamales using each of the fillings & then we tasted...
The dried cranberry filling was far & away the taste winner of the two fillings. It had a much more intense flavor of cranberries & a nice sweetness. Also the tamales made with it seem to hold together better (perhaps too much juice escaped from the fresh ones). But all & all neither filling was exactly as I had hoped. The weren't bad by any means, just not all that exciting either.
I think this is still an idea worth playing with & maybe with some tweaking it'll be much better. Next time I'll add some shredded chicken or turkey to the filling. Also it needed more spice to play against the sweetness of the cranberries, the jalapenos were so mild they were almost flavorless, maybe that was just these jalapeno. Finally, I would use monterey jack cheese instead of the quesadilla cheese. The quesadilla cheese got a little hard & orange in some places like it had been over cooked, when I've used monterey jack in the past it just melted nicely.
I'm imagining trying a version of these with Thanksgiving leftovers...cranberry & sweet potato filling or cranberry sauce & turkey filling. Anyone else have some ideas?
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