February 23, 2012

Time for Tamales

We love tamales... yes, they take a little time. But they are so worth the love effort:

Day 1: Take one four to five pound chicken, and one four to five pound beef roast, boil or roast each until the meat is very tender. Once they are cool shred the meat. I do this separately and some times I will use two crock pots, if life is full. However using the crock pot requires you to start the cooking early on day one. Once the meat is cooled and shredded, mix them together in a large bowl and add to the meat the following listed spices.*Please Note: Do not throw out your cooking water, you will need this for day two. Let it cool and store in the fridge for later.

Spices for the Meat: in a small pan, warm gently on the stove ~ stirring:

1/2 c oil
6 T Chili Powder
3 T Garlic Powder
3 T Ground Cumin
1 T Pepper
1 ½ T Real Salt

Then pour the spice mixture over the tamale meat. Now using your hands mix or massage the spices thoroughly into the meat. Once completed, cover the meat tightly and place it in the fridge over night.

Day Two:
  1. Soak the corn husks in warm water for about two hours, gently separate them when they are soft and lay them out on a towel to dry a little... do this just before using
  2. Make your Masa - take your reserved liquid from the fridge, and skim the fat from the top. Then pour the liquid into a large stock pot. Heat the liquid to warm. In a separate large bowl, add about two pounds Masa and the following spices:
    1 T Cumin
    1 ½ T Salt
    3 T Chili Powder
    3 T Paprika
    3 T Garlic Powder
    1. Mix the dry ingredients well, then add one cup of warm liquid from your stock pot to the Masa and spice bowl. Using one cup at a time, mixing after each cup. Continue to do this until your Masa reaches the consistency of peanut butter.
    2. Then take a damp, but not wet corn husk, the ones you have laid out flat. Spread enough Masa mixture to cover 2/3 of the corn husk. Not too thick but not so thin that you can see the corn husk.

      • Now add some of the meat mixture to the Masa covered corn husk and roll up tight. Folding over the bottom, pointed end. Set aside and repeat until you run out of either corn husks or Masa. 
      • This recipe fills my large stock pot, however I always have Masa and meat left over. The meat we use within a couple of days and the Masa can be frozen for another time.

To Cook: using a very large crock pot, place an open veggie steamer in the bottom, add some water to the bottom of your pot. Enough to just meet the veggie steamer basket. Stack the rolled tamales into the pan, keeping the open ends up and the folded ends towards, but out of the water.

Once the pot is filled tightly, cover with a towel and tuck the towel sides into the pan, then place on the lid. Steam over low to medium heat for about one to two hours, checking the tamales often.

I check mine at least ever thirty minutes. If the water is running low, add another cup at the same time you check the tamales. After about an hour check the Masa for done-ness, this is evident when the Masa pulls away from the corn husk and is firm.

Once the tamales are finished, remove them from the pan and let them cool. Be careful...as they will be very, very hot. After they are cooled slightly, you may serve them right away, or let them cool completely and serve later.

You can reheat them in an oven, serve them cold or freeze some for another time.

This recipe was given to me by a sister in Messiah, who also taught me how to make them, she is an amazing cook and imparted to me the love of spices. I am very grateful for her instruction, her time, and her love... even if she is a year younger, I will always think of her as one my Titus 2 mentors. 

Shared With The Barn Hop #51 

P.S - this post was edited June of 2017, I made every attempt to use better post formatting but ran into difficulty. We just made another batch and this still remains one of my most favorite recipes.