Let’s just start off by saying that this is the extreme end of what you can make with sorghum. It’s fancy, it’s complicated, but it’s out-of-this-world. Chef Vitaly Paley of Imperial, Portland’s Penny Diner and Paley’s Place, took our challenge for our Grains of Discovery World Launch party to create a dish with sorghum to a level we didn’t even know was there. You could make this entire dish for a special occasion or you could break out some of the components and create a simpler, yet still amazing and delicious, dish. My suggestion for simplifying? Focus on the tamales, use a filling of your choice and your favorite salsa. I’ve included the entire recipe for those go-getters among you. If you make this dish in its entirety, please let us know, you definitely deserve a special prize.
As a side note, Paley’s popped sorghum recipe recently made Portland’s Best Bar-Only Bites list from Portland Monthly.
Sorghum Tamale with Moxie Braised Goat And Oxtail, Spicy Sorghum Salsa and Puffed Sorghum
For the Tamale Batter:
Makes 8 to 10 tamales
- 4 ears of Corn peeled and grated on a large whole side of box grater
- 1 ½ cups Sorghum Flour plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup cooked Sorghum
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus more if needed
- ½ cup loosely packed chopped Cilantro
- 1 tsp Salt
- 8 dried Cornhusks, soaked in cold water
- 1 Fresno Chili, seeded and julienned
- 8 Tbsp fresh Goat Cheese
Cook grated corn over medium low heat with 1 tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt over low heat until most liquid has evaporated and flavor concentrates, about 10 minutes. Cool then mix well with Sorghum flour, cooked Sorghum, 2 tbs olive oil, chopped cilantro and salt.
Spread about 1/3 cup of batter on the inside of the corn husk, flatten the batter well so it’s about the size of your palm, add a couple of strips of chili, about a tbs of goat cheese to the center of the batter, fold over and wrap. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. Place in a steamer and cook until firm to the touch, about 1 hour.
For the Cooked Sorghum:
Makes about 6 cups
If the water is salted in the beginning of the cooking process it will make them tough and waxy. By seasoning at the end you will ensure a very pleasant supple texture.
- 2 cups Sorghum
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 5 Star Anise
- Large pinch Saffron
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- Water to cover
- Large pinch of Salt
Cook in a large straight sided pot, over medium high heat until pleasantly chewy, about 1 hour. Add water if needed to keep Sorghum submerged at all times. Season with salt when done. Cool in its cooking liquid. Refrigerate until needed. Will keep for 2 days covered and refrigerated.
For the Spicy Sorghum Salsa:
Makes about 2 ½ cups
It is best if corn, chilies and tomatillo are grilled over hot coals to give them a smoky, charred flavor. If grill is not available, hot oven will do the trick.
- 1 ear of Corn, husk removed
- 1 small Habanero Chili
- 1 small Anaheim Chili
- 3 Tomatillos
- 2 Tbsp plus ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 ½ cups cooked Sorghum
- 1 small Tomato, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped Green Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup chopped Cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped Basil
- Juice of 3 Limes
If grilling, get the coals red hot. If using an oven, preheat to 500 degrees. Coat the corn, chilies and tomatillos in 2 tbs of olive oil. Grill over hot coals turning often until lightly blistered and charred on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. If cooking in the oven, place all the veggies into a small roasting pan and cook for about 10 minutes.
When done, let the vegetables cool, then cut the kernels of the corn, seed and finely chop the chilies and coarsely chop tomatillos. Assemble in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. For best results serve salsa right after it is made.
For the Puffed Sorghum:
Makes about 2 cups
I find that the best method for puffing Sorghum is by submerging it into extremely hot, smoking oil for about 10 seconds. When attempting this, please take great care and have all ingredients and equipment needed in place. For frying I prefer canola, grape seed or rice bran oils.
- ½ cup Sorghum
- Frying Oil
- Large pinch Chili Powder
- Large pinch Garlic Powder
- Large pinch Salt
Have a plate lined with paper towels and large slotted spoon ready. Pour oil into a narrow straight-sided soup pot that is about 4 quarts deep. Heat the oil over high heat until it begins to lightly smoke. Turn the heat off and drop all the Sorghum in all at once. It will start popping almost instantly and the oil will rise
and foam at the same time. Count until 10 and spoon popped Sorghum out of the oil using the slotted spoon as fast as you can. Season with spices and salt and toss to distribute.
Let it cool slightly and enjoy as is or use as garnish.
Let oil cool in the pot undisturbed until cool enough to handle. Strain and set aside for other uses.
For the Moxie Braised Goat and Oxtail:
- 3# Bone in Goat Pieces, spiced
- 2# Oxtail
- 1 Onion, julienned
- ½ cup, Fire Roasted Hot Sauce
- 1 Moxie
Sear the meat and toss with onions and pour in Moxie, braise until tender, about 3 hours. Pick off the bone. Reheat back up in left over braise and serve with tamales or tacos.
For the Spice Mix:
- 1 tsp Coriander
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Fennel
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 1 dried Pasilla Chili
- ½ Tbsp Chimayo
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Cayenne
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
Toast coriander, cumin, fennel, black pepper. Separately, toast cinnamon and Pasilla chiles. Grind all together in a spice grinder and combine all spices.
For the Fire Roasted Hot Sauce:
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 Tomato, split, with the core removed
- 2 Limes split
- 1 small Onion cut in half, skins removed
- 1 Jalapeño, seeds removed
- 1 Fresno Chili, seeds removed
- 1 dried Pasilla Chili smoked over the fire or just toasted in a dry pan over high heat until blackened.
- 1 green Garlic Bulb or 3 Garlic Cloves
- Few drops of very hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce to taste
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Spice Mix from the goat braise recipe
Grill all the vegetables quickly over hot coals, just long enough to char. They should still be raw, just looking to pick up the smoke flavor and char the outside. Add all the vegetables to the food processor and pulse until all are chopped finely, transfer to vita prep blender, squeeze in lime juice and blend until very smooth while emulsifying olive oil in very slowly. Finish with hot sauce.