Dinner And A Movie Ep. 31: Riviera Maya, MEX

Our next Dinner And A Movie features Phish’s February 22, 2019 show from Barceló Maya Beach, Riviera Maya, Mexico. Join us on the couch this Tuesday at 8:30PM ET at

What’s on the dinner menu? Classic Chile and Cheese Tamales and Black Bean Soup! Full recipes can be found below. Don’t forget to tag your dinner photos #phishdinnerandamovie.

We have selected the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) as our beneficiary for this webcast. All donations made via The WaterWheel Foundation will go to them — donate any time at Established in 1979, the NILC is the leading national legal advocacy org in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of the most vulnerable immigrants and their loved ones. Believing that everyone living in the U.S. should have equal access to justice, resources, and economic opportunities that allow them to achieve their full human potential, NILC advances its mission through a racial, economic, and gender justice and equity lens, and works to challenge laws and policies that contribute to systemic inequities.

Black Bean Soup
Makes 4-6 servings

3.5 oz chipotle chiles in adobo (half of a 7oz can)
[or substitute 1 ½ tsp ground cumin and 1 ½ tsp ground coriander if you can’t find, or want a mild soup]
1 TBSP olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped,
1 large or 2 small yellow onions, chopped
2 pieces pork or turkey bacon (optional)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb (1 cup) dry black beans [or 3 15oz cans of black beans – you will also use less stock].
Check dry beans for any foreign objects like stones. Do not pre-soak them.
4 cups veggie or chicken stock (3 cups if using canned beans)
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 ½ tsp kosher salt (+ more to taste if needed)
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup red wine (or 1 tsp tomato paste dissolved in ½ cup water)
Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, to taste
Optional: 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped if you want more heat. (Don’t touch your eyes after! Or, wear those latex gloves you have in your COVID stash)

And garnishes to choose from:
½ small red onion (or 1 large shallot)
3 limes
3-6 radishes
Sour cream
1 bunch cilantro
2-3 avocados

Use a food processor or immersion blender to purée the chiles, their sauce and the garlic cloves. (Or, thoroughly mince chiles and garlic cloves and then add the sauce.) Set aside.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add onions and carrots. Stir until just softened, about 5 minutes.
Add wine (or substitute) and simmer for 1-2 minutes until it reduces. Add red bell pepper and jalapeno (if using) and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Stir the puréed chiles/garlic into the veggies and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the dry beans, stock, bay leaves and oregano. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until beans are softened but not yet fully cooked. (If you have pre-soaked your beans, this will be a much shorter cooking time). The goal is to keep the liquid soupy, so add water as needed as they cook to keep the broth liquidy and not thick. Add the salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking until the beans are soft. (If you are using canned beans: Add stock, bay leaves and oregano and simmer for 20 minutes. Gently rinse the canned beans and add to the soup, and simmer for another 10 minutes).

As the soup is simmering, prepare the garnishes!

  • Peel the red onion or shallot and cut in half. Thinly slice and add to a small bowl. Add juice from 1 lime and a pinch of salt. Let sit for 30-45 minutes while you finish the soup, then drain and quickly rinse with water before serving. (If making ahead, ok to refrigerate for an hour or two and rinse before serving, or let sit, rinse, and then refrigerate for up to 2 days)
  • Slice the remaining lime into 6 wedges
  • Chop a large handful of cilantro
  • Slice your radishes into thin circles or half moons
  • If you want to be fancy, zest the lime you’ve already used and add it to approximately ½ cup of sour cream.
    Slice or cube avocado just before serving (to minimize browning, or toss with lime juice if slicing in advance

To finish the soup, let’s finesse the texture. Ideally, you want the texture of the whole beans, with a velvety broth that’s thickened with the starches of the beans as they have cooked. However, some people like their black bean soup thicker, and that’s cool too. If the broth is thinner than you’d like, pulse an immersion blender to puree some of the beans (start slow, you can always do more!) or mash beans with a potato masher, or put a cup in a blender, then return the purée to the pot. Keep in mind the soup will still thicken a bit before serving as the beans absorb more liquid.

Add a splash of red wine vinegar and stir through. Then adjust seasoning as needed: more salt, pepper and/or chipotle purée or extra adobo sauce.

Serve in bowls with garnishes — decorate yourself or allow people to add their own accoutrements!

Chile & Cheese Tamales

For the Masa Dough:
4 cups Masa Harina (instant corn flour, NOT corn meal)
3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable broth)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 1/3 cups lard (or vegetable shortening)
8 ounce package dried corn husks

For the filling:
2-3 Poblano chiles (or canned Hatch or Jalapeno)
Cheese (Oaxaca or Monterey Jack is best)

Note: You can really fill your tamales with anything! If you wanted to do a traditional pork filling, check this recipe.

Prepare the husks:
Take 2 of the dried husks and tear 1/2″ long strips of each (they’ll be used as the ties to hold each tamale together). Submerge the remaining corn husks in a bowl/pot of very hot water for 30 minutes or until softened.

Prepare the Chile and Cheese filling:
Cut the poblano (or whatever chile you’re using) into 1/2″ pieces (the more advance cook can blister the chiles and peel the skins before chopping them up) and saute in a pan over medium heat with a canola oil until slightly soft (they will continue to cook when steamed in the tamales). Set aside.

Cut the cheese into bitesized chunks. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Make the masa dough:
In a stand mixer, beat the lard (or shortening) and 2 tablespoons of the broth until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Combine the masa flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the lard mixture and continue to mix until combined. Drizzle in the remaining broth until a very soft dough is formed. Mix for several minutes until very fluffy.

Assemble the tamales:
Lay a husk, on the counter (edges curled up and with the wide end at the bottom). Spread 1/2 cup of the dough onto wide bottom center of the corn husk (spread to about about 1/4 inch thick), leaving the top half without any spread (you will fold at this half-point).

Place 1-2 tablespoons of your chiles and few chunks of cheese in the center of the dough, in a vertical line.

Fold in one side of the husk over the filling (left to right). Fold in the other long side, overlapping the first (right to left). You’re making a little packet. Then fold the top of the husk down.

Tying tamales:
Use the strips of dried husk that you prepared earlier and wrap the tamale packet to close it together and tie.

To cook:
You’ll need a large pot with steamer basket. Add water to the bottom of your steamer. You can place a few extra corn husks on the bottom to prevent any boiling water from touching them. Place your tamales upright in the steamer, open end up. Cover.

Bring water to a boil and once boiling, drop to a simmer and steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You can also use and instant pot to cook. See your pot instructions for details. To test if the tamales are done: Remove one and try to pull the husk off. If the husk pulls away cleanly from the tamale they’re done. If the dough is still sticky, cook for another 15 minutes or so and then check again.

Serve with your favorite taqueria style salsa!