Sunday, February 17, 2008

writing about christmas tamales in february!

a mexican tradition adopted by my un-mexican family is christmas eve tamales. this year, i decided i was going to make my own. look, you can tell i did this during christmas because you can see the christmas wrap in the background on my table!

tamale prep

the day before, i cooked the beef and made the red sauce. all recipes were adopted/adapted from this post on laist.

beef tamale filling
5 lb boneless beef roast
1 tablespoon salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, sliced
3 c. beer

season meat with salt and garlic, place in roasting pan and cover with sliced onions. pour in beer and roast covered at 250 degrees for about 5 hours. reserve stock and shred meat. add a little of the red sauce. you could add some more ingredients to make it more interesting, if you want. i've had beef with olives, beef with green chile strips. and of course, you could do chicken, pork, chile and cheese instead.

red sauce
5 ounces dried california chiles
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 medium onion
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons flour

remove stems and seeds from chile pods. rinse and then soak in 3 cups hot water for 1 hour. drain, reserving water. put chiles, spices and onion in a blender or food processor. blend, adding mixture of stock from the beef and the reserved soaking water until the sauce is the consistency of gravy. in a saucepan, make a roux with the oil and flour. add red sauce and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

10 lb prepared masa (get from mexican deli)

the original recipe called for 5 pounds, but i had to go out and get another 5 pounds of masa because i only used about half the meat with the original 5 pounds of masa.

whip the masa up in your mixer adding a little of the stock and red sauce for flavoring and to get the right consistency. kind of like spreadable frosting.

to wrap a tamale, lay out your corn husk (soaked and drained), spread some masa along the top half of the husk leaving some space on both sides. add some of the meat filling, fold the two sides in and then fold the top up. you will see the masa sticking out of the top. some people add another layer of corn husk and then tie the whole thing in a bundle with the a thin strip of corn husk. too much work if you ask me, because you've got enough fixin's to make 71 more tamales, and it's christmas eve, and you should've done this yesterday and you've still got presents to wrap, and wait...that's probably just me.

to cook them, shove them all in your steamer insert (folded side down) in a big stock pot and steam for about 2 hours.

tamales ready to steam

careful not to let your steamer boil dry! mooncrazy puts a penny in the water in the pan. when you stop hearing the penny, the water is too low for it to rattle around - time to add more water! i add boiling water from my kettle so that it doesn't take the temperature down too much.

serve with some red sauce and enjoy! put the rest in dozen tamale portions in your ziplock bags and give to friends or freeze.


Anonimo said...

Have you ever heard or tried the tamales wrapped in banana leaves? They're incredible. They are much bigger and mushier. I do not know if the banana leaves add a different flavor but they sure are tasty. I tried to find a recipe for you online but was unsuccessful

barnyardmama said...

My grandfather made tamales all the time. They were everyone's favorite. I'm a foodie who made it here via blogs of note--I'll be back.

missknits said...

OUr tradition is always to make enchiladas. but your tamalas look wonderful! maybe sometthing new to try next year. thanks for sharing your recipe!

zane said...

I love Mexican Food!

Doodles said...

I have heard of tamales wrapped in banana leaves because some Cuban cooks use that method.

And I can vouch for the tastiness of said lil birds tamales cause I was there. Love this tradition.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I've been looking for a good tamale recipe. I'm going to give this one a try!

Victor said...

Wow, wish you had your tamales posting done during the christmas season. I would have prepared it for christmas dinner.

Meredith Teagarden said...

This looks fabulous!

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

We do green chili tamales for Thanksgiving. I look forward to them all year long.

Sylvie said...

Tamales are fantastic. I am trying to also make this a yearly tradition. It brings so many people together with the prep and the parties to eat. Looks good. P.S. luv your enameled cast iron. What brand is it? Been trying to make up my mind on what I want.

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