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Dec 18, 2011 08:42 AM

ISO a small amount of masa harina

Making Texas-style chili and recipe calls for masa harina. I know it will be fine without it, but it would be great to have it to add. Problem is I can only find huge bags -- like a couple of pounds -- at Shaw's. Granted, it's not that much money, a little more than $4. But I don't like the idea of spending that much on a very inexpensive product when I only need two tbs. of it and the rest of the big bag will probably get stale before I make chili again. Any place sell small-ish amounts of the stuff? Cambridge, Watertown, Belmont or Arlington would be most convenient.

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  1. possibly bulk section of Harvest in Central Square?

    1. Could be worth checking at Foodmaster in Somerville (on Alewife Brook Parkway). Or Market Basket or other large grocery stores besides Shaw's. However, it's true that the Maseca brand is often sold in the large 4 lb bags.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dave MP

        They also have sold a 2-lb (I think) bag at La Chapincita in Waltham in the past.

      2. Texan here. What we do if we want to thicken a chili and we don't have any masa is we take a small handful of corn tortillas -- three or four -- tear them into small pieces and ladle out about a half-cup of the chili liquid onto them to soak. You can either let them soften enough to mash with a pestle or (what I usually do) take 'em for a spin in the food processor until they're basically disintegrated back into the masa dough they were made from. Stir that into your chili at a low heat and simmer 10-15 more minutes.

        It's easier to use the remainder of a package of corn tortillas -- we always have a package of Cinco de Mayo in the fridge -- than three pounds and 15 and a half ounces of masa harina.

        4 Replies
          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

            Tortilla chips work in a pinch as well.

            1. re: emannths

              Thanks for the suggestions. I was out of corn tortillas (having made Stacked Enchiladas from the Homesick Texan cookbook the night before; I was on a weekend Tex-Mex kick), so I tried the tortilla chips. Blasted some in a food processor, which didn't pulverize them as much as I'd hoped, so dumped the crumbs into a blender which pulverized them better, reducing some to the dust I was hoping for. The smashed chips did improve the chili (another Homesick Texan recipe, Seven Chile Chile, though I could only rustle up three types of chiles), thickening it up slightly, but nicely.

              1. re: katzzz

                I'm glad you were able to improvise (this said as someone who has a huge bag of masa harina in the freezer that I will NEVER use up, and was purchased for a similar project.)

                I love the Homesick Texan's recipes, and recently made Carne Guisada with excellent results. Sadly it didn't use up much of my masa harina either.