Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wrapping Up Your Holiday with Tamales

Eating freshly made, just steamed tamales are usually my Christmas Eve meal I prepare. Last year was an exception since I was out of town. This year I will be at my son's apartment for Christmas Eve so I might make some to bring or make them another day. With masa puffed by steam and filled with delightful fillings it is hard to beat a meal with tamales.

You really need the right masa to make the best tamale but that is not possible everywhere. The fresh, unprepared masa available at Latino markets is want you want to use. It is finer than tortilla mesa and you want it wet and fresh. You can, however, make a very nice tamale with the Masa Harina de Maiz from companies such as Quaker. The tamales will be better than any you can buy frozen.

After you prepare the mesa for the tamales you spread it on a cleaned, soaked corn husk, add filling an and wrap them and steam them.. It is very labor-intensive and work best with an army of relatives to work an assemble line. It can be done alone and I have done it more than once by myself.

Any fat will do for the masa and you might want to experiment to find out want you would like. Try butter it has the flavor and fat. The radio is one part fat to 5 parts mesa. You can use canned broth, but of course, homemade is better.

Use a mixer if you have it to whip up the mesa and about 1 ice-cream scoop is about the amount you want to add on the husk.

There are all kinds of fillings but I suggest not using seafood since the tamales must be in the steamer for one hour and than is too long for seafood. I think I will experiment this year and make some other then beef, chicken and vegetarian.

Most tamales makers cook the meat, make the sauces and prepare the husks the day before. Then they put together and steam.

Basic Recipe for Pork or Beef Red Chili Tamales

4-5 pounds pork or beef
1 large onion
6-8 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons lard or other fat
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup red Chile powder
2 cups meat broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
mesa harina masa
or fresh masa
about 6 dozen dried corn husk , prepared for tamales

Cover the meat, onion, garlic with water in a large pot, bring to boil and simmer for 2 hours, adding water as needed. Shred meat. Add flour to meat and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add Chile powder, broth, and seasonings to the meat. Cook at medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened.

Quacker Oats Masa recipe

2/3 cup solid shortening or lard
4 cups Masa Harina de Maiz
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pork or beef broth
1/3 cup lard or shortening, melted

In a large bowl, beat 2/3 cup shortening, combine masa and salt. Alternately add masa an b broth to shortening, mixing well after each addition. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup melted shortening, mixing dough consistency of thick cake batter.

To assemble:
Spread 2 tablespoonfuls masa in center of each husk. Spoon 1 tablespoon meat filling lengthwise down center of masa. Fold husk over filling, allowing plain part of husk to wrap around tamale. Fold bottom end up over enclosed filling.

To Steam:

Using a tamale or vegetable steamer in a large, heavy pot, place rack 2 inches above gently boiling water. Arrange tamales upright in steamer basket. Do not pack tightly as the tamales will expand during cooking. Fill extra spaces will extra husks to keep them upright. Cover tamales with additional husks; cover , steam for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until tamales are firm and fall away from husk.

To serve:
Unwrap tamales from husks and discard husks. Serve plain , with mole sauce or you favorite sauce.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What Do You think?

0b9de52241409967944151e2bda0bfbd 424e14018934bd7c0b4b2f3011431f2f