Saturday, May 12, 2007
Today a little boy came through our neighborhood selling Tamales, 12 for $12! I loaded up...hot & fresh, authentic tamales delivered to the door, who could ask for more? I hope his mother adds us to her regular route, but if not here is a tamale recipe I'm planning on trying out in an attempt to duplicate this delicious dish:
6 cups masa harina and 5 cups warm water or chicken broth
OR 6 cups of Nixtamal
1 1/2 cups lard or shortening
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
To use Nixtamal-
Prepare corn according to use for masa dough. Add additional chicken broth until it is the consistency of thick peanut butter.
To use Masa Harina-
In a mixing bowl combine masa and warm water or broth until combined. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or so to let the masa soften. Then mix it on low speed until a dough forms.
After Masa or Masa Harina is prepared-
Gradually add in the salt, cumin and onion powder.
In a separate bowl, whip lard or shortening until fluffy. Add the lard to the dough a little at a time while mixing until well combined.
The mixture should be about the consistency of peanut butter. If not, add more masa, water or broth as necessary.
Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
3 cups shredded beef
8 large roasted chiles- skin, seeds and veins removed and coarsely chopped.
1 white onion- peeled and coarsely chopped.
6 cloves of garlic- peeled and crushed.
1 jalapeno- seeded and diced
3 potatoes- peeled, boiled and chopped into large chunks.
1 cup homemade chile sauce or store bought
FILLING & STEAMING TAMALES
Time Required: 2 minutes per tamale
Sort the husks
Go through the corn husks removing any debris. Separate the larger usable pieces from the smaller bits and pieces. Save the smaller pieces for later.
Soak the husks
Place the husks into a large bowl. Cover husks with warm water. Set a heavy item (like a heavy bowl) on top of the husks to keep them submerged.
Prepare the husks
Remove the husks from the water and pat dry. Place into a covered dish or a large plastic bag to prevent from drying out. Use only the larger and medium sized husks for the tamales. The smaller ones can be used later for ties or patches. When looking at the husk, they have a narrow end, a broad end, and 2 long sides.
Adding the dough
Lay a husk on a flat surface. Place 1-2 tablespoons of dough onto the husk. When spreading the dough, leave a space of about 4 inches from the narrow end of the husk and about 2 inches from the other end. Spread the dough to the edge of one of the long sides and 2 inches away from the other long side. Try to keep the dough approximately 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick.
Spread about a tablespoon of filling down the center of the dough.
Locate the long side with a 2 inch space with no masa. Fold that over, slightly overlapping the other side so the edges of the dough meet. Wrap the extra husk around the back.
Then fold the broad end over the top and then the longer narrow end over the broad end.
Create strips of husk by cutting or tearing 1/4 inch lengths off of some of the smaller or unusable husks. Use these to tie across the middle of the tamale to hold the flaps down.
Set tamales upright in a steamer. You can buy large steamers made just for this purpose. You may have something else you can use to create the same effect. The key is to have a small amount of boiling water on the bottom of the pot and a colander or mesh of some sort to keep the tamales away from the water.
Steam for about 90 minutes
Tips & Tricks:
Do not let the water boil up completely. Add hot water to the pot as necessary but keep it away from the tamales.
If some of the husks are too small or you have trouble closing them, use extra pieces of husk to wrap around the open areas.
You can also use kitchen twine to tie off the tamales.