How to Freeze Mexican Food
There are plenty of recipes that you can make but perhaps you want to make something more time-consuming and labor intensive, like tamales or a big, hearty casserole, in which case it is worth doubling or tripling the recipe. This means that you can freeze some for another time and thaw it out whenever you fancy enjoying Mexican food without all the hassle of having to make it first.
Tamales are made with masa dough and a bean, vegetable or meat filling. Tamales are often made for the holidays because they are quite fiddly, so it is worth making extra. You can freeze tamales for up to six months. Cool your cooked tamales on wire racks. If you leave them at room temperature for too long, they will not freeze well so check their progress often. As soon as the tamales are cool, put them in plastic freezer bags or plastic freezer containers.
How to Reheat Thawed Tamales
To reheat the tamales, you should thaw them for a few hours in the refrigerator. Bear in mind that if you are thawing a big batch this might take a day. If you are going to steam them, leave the husks on them, and then steam them for half an hour.
Alternatively, you can add a little water and cook them in the microwave for a few minutes, although this sometimes dries them out more than steaming does, so steaming is better than microwaving. Another option is to bake the tamales in a greased dish for half an hour at 425 degrees F. For a nice crispy outside, you could fry them for five minutes or so, in cooking oil.
A lot of casseroles are good for freezing but this depends on the ingredients. Pasta, mayonnaise, rice, and certain sauces are all safe to freeze but they might not taste so great when you thaw them. If a Mexican casserole recipe calls for sour cream, you might want to add this after you thaw it out instead of before freezing.
It is important to label the freezer bag or freezer container with the contents and freezing date, as well as any further cooking instructions. You might forget what else you have to add to the casserole before cooking it or even what kind of casserole it is. Also, someone other than the chef might be looking for something to thaw out, in which case good labeling will help them.
If you are using vegetables in your casserole recipe, blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then plunge them into ice water before adding them to the casserole. This stops them from going soggy and it keeps them brightly colored.
Before freezing the casserole, you will need to let it cool down to room temperature first. To speed this process up, put the casserole dish on a layer of ice cubes in a rimmed baking sheet.
When you defrost the casserole, you should do it in the refrigerator rather than on the kitchen counter. You do not have to thaw it out before cooking it but thawing it does lessen the cooking time.
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