Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homemade Tamales

Tamales are one of my favorite foods.  I was so sick of spending an arm and a leg to buy them, so I called up a friend of mine and asked her to show me how to make them.  Wow! I called the right woman. She can whipped these puppies out like there is no tomorrow!  I'm so glad that I called her. She showed me some major short cuts.  One of which, was ditching the part where you fold both ends and tie them with twine.  She also cuts out TONS of the lard. She told me that most people use way too much and you only need enough to make the masa stick. I also LOVE that she flavors her masa.  It adds so much more umph to the tamale. I changed up the recipe a little bit, to use things that you can find in the normal grocery store.

For the masa- just get any of the dried masa in a bag you find in your local store. Usually near the flour. If you find some that is already moist (Some stores have it that way), you can still use it, just add all ingredients except for most of the chicken broth.  Just use enough broth to get the consistency to be like creamy mashed potatoes.

A little bragging note for me.  My husband loves to take Tamales to work for his lunch.  He has some guys at work who were poking fun at him, that his wife made tamales.  He told them just to try a bite.  Immediately they quit teasing and said, that the tamales were way better than their wives tamales. Ahhh, that made me feel like a million bucks. he he he

Don't get intimidated by making these.  I've tried to do a detailed step by step guide for you. With pictures. As always, you are free to email me with any questions or post on our wall on Facebook if you get stuck. I'll respond asap. You don't need to buy any fancy spatulas, or pots.  All you need is a pot that you can steam things in.  I use my spaghetti pot, because it has a colander in it that is raised from the bottom. If you don't have something like this, the tamale pots are pretty cheap.

This time, I made green chile chicken ones.  Flavor your meat, however you like it.  This flavor of masa goes with anything. This is also a batch that makes about 80 regular sized tamales. It's way better to make a ton at once and freeze them. So if you don't want that many, the recipe can easily be cut in half.  Or even doubled. I made them 4 days ago and they are already half gone!  I should have doubled it!!!  My 16 month old will frequently eat two in one sitting.  Needless to say, they are a huge hit in our little family.

Homemade Tamales

Green Chile Chicken- 

16 cups (about 8-9 lbs) chicken cooked and shredded
3 (7 oz) cans green chilies
1 Jar  Salsa Verde (I use Herdez)
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp salt

9 cups masa
2-32 oz boxes chicken broth minus 1 cup
1 cup lard melted
1 can el pato (I used the green one)
1 lg can stewed tomatoes
6 bay leaves
3 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp salt
4 roasted tomatoes

Corn husks

Optional add ins- Green olives, jack cheese (I like Monterey) roasted Anaheim peppers,(my hubby loved these in it!) sliced potato(i don't use)

First: flavor the chicken (or other meat) I like to put all of my chicken into a crock pot and cook it. Then drain most of the juice (keep a little bit to keep the meat moist) then add the flavors(green chiles etc). 

Second- roast your tomatoes.  Just do it in a skillet.  You just want to blister the edges and crisp it up a bit.  It adds a little roasted flavor to your masa.  Not a necessary step but I like it.  (when you toss them into the blender, just leave the peels on. No need to take them off)   
Optional: You can also roast your Anaheim peppers this way too. Then slice them up in strips and add them to the tamale before you close it up. (adds some yummy flavor!!!)

Start you lard melting. In a small pan on low heat, melt lard.  (PS.  I only used 1/2 cup lard and they turned out pretty well but could have used a bit more, to keep the tamale in tact. So that is why I put one cup)

Add, el pato, stewed tomatoes, bay leaves, parsley, salt, and roasted tomatoes to a blender and blend well.   Pour it into a large bowl with your 9 cups of masa in it. Add melted lard and then add broth until you get the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes.  Mix well. Don't be afraid to taste it.  You'll want to make sure that you like the flavor before you spread it on the husks. Feel free to add more salt, or whatever you like. My daughter (16 mo old) loved eating this by the spoon full!

 Next- soak your corn husks. (remove all of the little hairs and the tiny or ripped pieces)  Immerse husks in a large bowl of hot/warm water for about 3 minutes. This allows them to soften up so that you can work with them. 

Next- with the back of a spoon, or a spatula, spread a thin layer of masa on the pre-soaked husk. You can go right to the edges if you want, except for the edge that comes to a point.  Leave a couple inches without the masa so you can fold that end over. The masa will double in thickness when cooked, so you don't have to spread it very thick.

If you have a couple of thinner pieces, you can overlap them like this.  Also this works well if you like your tamales really huge. Just use bigger pieces and overlap them.

In the center, place chicken, and other desired add-ins. I definitely suggest adding cheese. It moistens the meat and adds some good flavor.  We love the olives too.

Roll the tamale and fold up the pointed edge.

Stack tamales in a steamer like this.   You can pack them in there pretty tight.  Just make sure that the open end is up. Cover and steam for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min. Until masa gets a little rubbery and starts to pull away from the husk. If you are doing larger tamales, you will need to steam them longer.  Make sure to check your water level frequently. It depends on the pot you use, but I have to add water about every 15 minutes, because it's kind of small. The water will steam out and burn the bottom kind of easy (again depending on the pot) Burnt flavored tamales... not so tasty!  So watch your water!!!

When they are done steaming, I like to place them on a cookie sheet to cool. The masa will continue to firm up and dry a little bit too. 

Keep in the fridge for about 3 days or freeze in freezer bags. (just microwave 1 for about 3 minutes from frozen.)

Tip:  You can freeze the tamales before steaming, and then steam them when you want to use them in the future. 

Tip: if you want to use beef or pork and make a red tamale... Just flavor the meat with the masa flavoring (minus the broth)

Tip: If you run out of husks or can't find them in the store, you can do them NY style. My friend just used aluminum foil instead of the husks, when she lived in NY. They couldn't find husks there.

1 comment:

Brianne said...

Great job with this post Jennie! You've made it so so easy to follow! :) I can't wait to try these out on my own! Thanks for sharing!