Thursday, June 23, 2011

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Tamales are time consuming… and if you have little girls or boys I would encourage to get them involved in the making of these tasty little morsels.. The girls and I made 70 of these … I made too much chicken mixture so after batch # 5 of the tamale dough I was done.. 50 set aside for church and the rest were for dinner.

I have many fond memories of tamales… probably because I wasn't involved in the making of them… as a lazy child there was no way I was going to view anything that had to do with hard work a fond memory..

I remember pouring over the pictures of Mama's Mexican cookbook… wondering why she didn't make that or this.. or what was in that pot..
I mooched it off of Mama finally wanting to make tamales for my family.. Wanting so bad for them to get a small taste of what I ate growing up.
This cook book is precious to me.. even the recipe for "Molded Avocado Ring" It was publish in the height of the jello ring and pimento olive time.. (the 70's) and as I scan through the recipes now my gag reflex starts acting up…

But the tamale recipe is the best….

 So I usually don't promote prepackaged food but these I will buy… Usually Mexican Mole (pronounced Mol-lay) is what I normally buy but I managed to get a hold of my favorite "mole" this one is made with pumpkin seeds and peanuts unlike the regular mole with peppers and chocolate.. Lard… I tried to see if I could render off some of my rear and thighs at the local butcher shop sadly they don't do that there… so I had to get some at the store.. I could have saved at least 500 dollars there… enough lard for several YEARS!! And in that jar is the masa flour.. you can use coconut butter or Crisco… and as for the chicken broth you could have vegy broth… I wouldn't suggest just using water because you need your tamale dough to be flavorful..
So we have salt, masa flour, lard, chicken broth, chicken, mole, corn husks

Fill a large out ¾ full of water.. I use hot water to get the process started..

 Place your corn husks in the water and weigh down with a heavy pot turn on burner and only heat till almost boiling.. turn off heat and let the husks sit in the water weighted down for at least an hour.. or while you prepare the filling and dough..

 Hmmm the smell of this stuff makes my mouth water… I have a huge desire to forgo the tamales and just cook this with some chicken legs and some home made tortilla's…..

 This part I detest.. my kitchen wasn't in the perfect shape since I was also cooking 50 other things at this time so I had to pull out the masher for this process.. add a little water at a time and mash away… at the end you want it to look like thick soup. A mixer works better at times like these but it was being used for chimichanga filling at the time.

Arm is hanging limp at my side but it is properly mashed.

Pour over chicken breasts and bake for about 30 mins..


Remove chicken and add a little at a time some broth or water to your mole.. chop chicken and then mix in again.

 Now lets make the dough… lard in mixing bowl

 Beat till fluffy and then add your masa, salt, and broth

 Beat that until fluffy also.

 Set up your station.. I ended up moving to the kitchen table after folding 50 of these and my feet started swelling to the size of watermelons.

 Corn husk… golf ball size dough in middle..

 With wet fingers flatten till about ¼ inch thick all around..

 Filling down the middle..

Fold up sides, top, bottom.

Repeat with corn husk.. and lay seam side down on platter and then threaten to not let anyone eat these unless they help you blobpatfillfoldfold the rest of the ingredients.....

I used to have a vegy steamer.. in fact for at least an hour in my kitchen I had three.. the over sized one was handed to my sister and the other two I am sure is outside with a army man trapped in the alien space craft/vegetable steamer. The other was taken apart to see how it was put together.. but since I only paid 50 cents for them I don't scream to loud for too long when I find out they are MIA.

So we resort to the handy dandy tinfoil.. roll up several "snakes" so that there is some space from the bottom of the pot and your tamales… layer some corn husks over the tin foil… poke with a knife several holes in the husks so the steam can escape and then start stacking your tamales … I like to stack them on the sides leaving a hole in the middle for the steam to cook the top ones.. add water and bring to a boil.. then turn down your pot till it is a heavy simmer ( medium or medium low depending on how hot your stove is) remember to keep adding water ever 20 mins or so and steam for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Print Recipe

1 cup lard
2 ½ cups masa flour
1 teaspoon salt                
1 ¾ cup chicken broth
Corn husks….
Filling of your choice..  Mole or black beans and feta cheese. Bell peppers and mole etc…
Place lard and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whip with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add masa harina and beat at low speed until well mixed. Pour in broth
Drain water from corn husks. One at a time, flatten out each husk, with the narrow end facing you, and spread approximately 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the top 2/3 of the husk. Spread about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture down the middle of the masa. Fold over sides, top and then bottom and repeat with corn husk
Place tamales in a steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately one hour, until masa is firm and holds its shape. Make sure steamer does not run out of water. Serve immediately, allowing each person to unwrap their own tamales. Allow any leftovers (still in husks) to cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator.


Jessica said...

Wow, Sarah that's a lot of work...
I have made this dough for a Mexican pie and coconut oil does taste great. If you never seem to have tinfoil (like me)use a layer of narrow mouth jar rings! works good too! I'm still brainstorming a vegetarian filling- I want to do this too!
great pictures as usual! Thanks for the post!

Jessica said...

Oh, and the masa flour can be found even at Aldi. At Walmart or Meijer the brand is called Masaca. Usually found in the Mexican food section.

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