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Old 11-01-2007, 01:59 AM   #1
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Tamale Project - 3 steps

Yep, tamales really turn into a project, but they are so good and you can make enough to share and save.

There is an EXCELLENT website showing how to make tamales, #1 from what to buy, #2 cooking the meat, then #3 making the actual tamale. Tamale Recipe

I followed that recipe, sort of, and came out with 3 dozen tamales - except I used a 3 pound pork roast and 4 chicken leg quarters. The meat was ok, but needed a little added broth to keep from being dry. The tamale dough was EXCELLENT!!

So here's the deal. #1 - Get Ready: You need something to steam the tamales in. I fit all 36 into a two tiered cheapo bamboo steamer. I had a steamer basket but couldn't find the pan it was supposed to fit in. I saw a pasta cooker that I think would work divinely.

You need to buy the ingredients: Corn husks, instant corn masa mix (Maseca brand is great), pork, chicken and good chili powder, along with garlic powder, and cumin.

#2 - Cook the meat EARLY. The website suggests the day before, but I started mine in the morning and had tamales ready for supper. Cut the pork in fist sized chunks and bring to a boil, simmer for 2-3 hours. Throw the chicken in a pot and boil for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, soak the corn husks. I used 1/2 a big bag.

Take the meat out and shred it, removing fat, skin and bones. Heat 1/2 cup of oil then add in 6 tablespoons of chili powder, 3 tablespoons garlic powder, 3 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons salt. Pour the spice mixture over the meat and schmush it all together, mixing in the spices and mashing the meat into small pieces. If it seems a little dry add in a cup of broth.

#3 - Make the tamales: Make the dough using the broth of the meat you just cooked. Start with 1/2 bag of the masa mix. Add in 3 tablespoons each of chili powder, cumin seeds (I only had ground cumin), garlic powder and paprika, along with 1 tablespoon salt. Mix until well combined.

Mix in 2 cups of corn oil. Then mix in 2 quarts of the meat broth, a cup at a time. If it ends up thinner than the consistency of peanutbutter, mix in more masa.

Separate and rinse the corn husks and follow the directions on the website to assemble your tamales. I did EXCEPT I did a fold rather than a roll, and I couldn't help packing the ends of my tamales with extra dough. And they said to use about 1/2 cup, I think 1/4 - 1/3 cup works better. But look at these pics to get the idea Make Tamales

Like I said I used the El Cheapo bamboo steamer, putting 2 layers of tamales in each steamer section - criss crossing them to allow for steam flow. I checked them after 2 hours and they were NOT done. This could be because my tamales were HUGE (the 1/2 cup of masa each), and my steamer was CHEAP. After 3 hours they were just right.

We ate a bunch for supper, gave a bunch away and still have a bunch in the freezer.

They seem best unwrapped then warmed in the microwave smothered with some Stokes Green Chili w/ pork sauce and shredded cheddar.

WAY worth it, but next time I'm making more and getting a better steamer. I was really wishing for my old microwave rice pressure steamer. I'm sure I could have knocked out a batch in the microwave in about 1/3 hour.
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