Tamales

Tamales

 Recipe by
 Rusty & Denis

Advice :
Prepare the filling prior to the day of assembling & cooking.  Have 2 or 3 people to help with the assembly process.

Ingredients for Meat :

  • 2½ to 3 pounds Boneless Beef, Pork (roast), or Chicken (breast), skinless
  • 2½ quarts Water
  • 1 Onion, peeled & cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 clove Garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black Pepper

Ingredients for Filling :

  • 1 clove Garlic, peeled
  • 1 small Onion, peeled & quartered
  • 1 Bell Pepper, stemmed & seeded or 6 Banana Peppers, stemmed & seeded
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons Shortening
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground Oregano
  • 3 tablespoons Raisins (optional)

Preparation for Filling :
First, prepare the Meat.  Trim Pork or Beef of half of visible fat.  Bring Water to a boil with the Onion, Garlic, Salt & Pepper.  Add the Meat, cover & let boil gently for about 1 to 1½ hours for Chicken, 1½ to 2 hours for Beef or Pork, skimming foam off the top several times during the cooking.  Remove Meat from Broth RESERVING ¾ to 1 cup Broth for Filling mix, let cool.  Shred Meat using two forks & set aside.

Next, Prepare the Filling.  Mince the Garlic.  Very finely chop the Onion & Bell Pepper.  Sauté Garlic, Onion & Bell Pepper in Shortening until onion is translucent.  Add Meat, Chili Powder, Salt, Cumin, Oregano, Raisins (optional) & enough of the Broth to make a moist, but NOT WATERY, pasty Filling.  Allow filling to cool completely before using.  Makes enough Filling for 3½ to 4 dozen Tamales.

Note :
For spicier mix, use 3 Jalapeño Peppers (stemmed & seeded) in place of Bell Pepper.

Ingredients for Masa :

  • 1 pound (slightly less than 4 cups) Masa Harina (Corn Flour with Lime)
  • 1 to 1½ cups soft Lard
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder or 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1½ to 3 tablespoons pure ground Chili Powder (optional)
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2½ to 3 cups lukewarm Beef or Chicken Broth
  • 1 package Corn Husks, or about 60

Preparation for Masa :
Soak Corn Husks for a few minutes & rinse well.  Take a few damaged or split Husks & tear them into long, thin strips about 1/8 inch wide for tying off the stuffed Husks.  Steamer should be a tall pot with a grate in the bottom raised about 1½ inches from the bottom.  Place a Nickel coin in the bottom of the pot to hear when water is boiling.  Add ONLY enough Water in the pot to be seen just below the grate, but not coming through.  Turn on heat with pot covered until coin vibrates gently.  NEVER let pot run dry!  Only add enough Water to stay below grate & not touch the Tamales.  Cover a large work area (dining table) with newspaper then wax paper.

In large bowl, whip the Lard with a fork, hand beaters, or electric mixer until light & fluffy.  Add Masa Harina, Salt, Baking Powder, Chili Powder (optional), & Sugar.  Mix for about 1 minute or until mixed well. Add about ½ cup of Broth at a time, mixing very well until liquid is absorbed.  Wait between additions of Broth to allow liquid to be absorbed before adding more.

The finished Dough should be the consistency of cooked oatmeal.  Test the dough by pinching off a small piece of Dough & placing in a glass of very cold Water.  If the Dough floats, you have prepared it with the proper amount of fat.  If the Dough does not float, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of melted Lard, 1 tablespoon at a time & mix well & test again.  Let the Dough rest about 10 minutes before spreading on the Husks.

Filling & Wrapping :
Spread a heaping soupspoon of Dough as thin as possible to make a rectangle about 3½ inches long by 3 inches.  Try to leave about 2 inches from top & bottom ends & about ¾ inch from side edges free from Dough.  Place a soupspoon of Filling down the center.  Roll & tie.

TamalePrep-Filling

To Roll :
Lift one side of Husk over to the other side creating a round shape in the Dough, enclosing the Filling & press the edges together to seal Tamale.  Roll Husk around the Tamale & fold the pointed end over, fold the other end over & tie.

TamalePrep-Rolling

To Tie :
Tie the end like tying a bow.  Try to tie them loosely as they will swell during steaming.  Try to keep the tamales from touching the water, as you only want them to steam.

TamalePrep-Tieing

To Pack Steamer :
Pack steamer with Tamales on end with open end up.  Steam 1½ to 2 hours in pot, covered with towel.  Keep listening for the coin.  If the coin starts to get quiet, you need to add Water.

TamalePrep-PackSteamer

Check one Tamale for doneness.  Dough should be firm, hold its shape & fall easily from the husk.  Serve hot or reheated still in their husks, allowing your guest to remove husks on their own plate.  A basket or bowl for discarded husks is advised.

These can be frozen for several months & reheated in a microwave.  Place thawed 3 or 4 Tamales on a plate & sprinkle a little water on them, DO NOT WET them, only sprinkle them.  Heat on High for 2 minutes with paper towel covering them.

Makes about 4 dozen

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