Thursday, June 23, 2011

Naturally, I'm a Cornhusker. So, I husked some Tamales!

So, if you read my post about Carnitas (which I'm sure you have because you follow my blog religiously and you haven't missed a post yet, but if for some weird reason you haven't, then you can totally check it out now) anyway, you'd know that I love me some Mexican food! Especially tamales! And in my travels I have had some amazing ethnic foods...have I mentioned the Cuban food from Miami...HELLO! But that's for another time. So, I have always wanted to experiment with tamales but have been too intimidated by failure. Then I realized that was silly because I'm not intimidated by much and I can really cook my butt off, so I'm going to try it. And seriously it wasn't hard. Very time consuming but not hard at all. And a lot of the time was just waiting. I finally finished them at about 9:30 last night and it was killing me because I couldn't try one that late, I have a girlish figure that I have to think guess what we had for breakfast this morning. Yes, Tamales with Green Chile Sauce! They turned out perfect! I can't wait to make another batch, next time with cream cheese and jalapenos! Oh ya! The corn dough on the outside and the meat on the inside and the flavorful sauce over top! Yum!

Note: Since I have never made tamales before and didn't have any idea where to start for creating my own recipe, my resource was My recipe is adapted from theirs.

Read the entire process before you begin, it will help! I promise!

Perfect Tamales with Green Chili Sauce

There are 3 basic parts to this don't get overwhelmed...

Meat Filling

3 c (less than 1 lb) slow roasted shredded pork, beef or chicken  
***see below note for roasting suggestion                            
2 Tbl chili powder
1 Tbl garlic powder (next time I will use 6 fresh garlic cloves, minced)
1 Tbl cumin

After roasting the meat, shred the meat into small pieces, add the spices and mix well. Cover and place in the refrigerator.


*** Either the day before or first thing in the morning I would take a roast or whole chicken and place in a crockpot on low. Add a sliced onion and a few cloves of garlic. Roast for several hours depending on how much meat you're cooking. With the left over meat, you can save for another meal or freeze it for later.

Masa Dough

3 c masa flour
1 Tbl chili powder
1 Tbl garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt (I didn't, but I know you will)
3/4 c corn oil
2 c reserved broth from the meat (or canned, if you didn't save the good juices or didn't roast your own meat)

Warm up the broth in the microwave for about a doesn't have to be hot hot (I don't think, mine wasn't).

Mix masa flour and all the seasonings. Add the oil and 1/2 c of meat broth at a time until you get to a peanut butter consistency. Stir as you add the broth. I used 1 1/2 c of the broth and then halfway through added another 1/2 c because the dough seemed to be getting dry.

Assembling the Tamales (sorry I just realized I didn't get any pictures of this process)

1 pkg Corn Husks (I found these in the produce section of the store)

Soak the corn husks for 2 hours. This recipe made about 15 tamales, so you won't need the whole package, but soak more than 15 in case you rip some or some are too small.

After soaking the husks and all the other ingredients are ready, it's time to roll 'em up! Lay one corn husk down at a time on your working surface, with the wider end closer to you. Measure just shy of 1/3 c of the dough onto the husk and with your fingers spread the dough out onto the edge of the left side going a little more than halfway towards the right side of the husk and about 2/3 of the way up. Lay a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of the spread out dough. Beginning on the left, roll all the way to the right. I lifted the husk off the dough a little bit as I rolled tightly so that it didn't get tucked into the dough. Now fold the short end piece of the husk, over to close it up. You will have one narrow end closed and one wider end open.

After you get all the tamales stuffed and rolled, you will need too cook them in a medium saucepan, with a steamer on the bottom, so that the tamales will not touch the water on the bottom. If you have a large pan with metal colander, that would work too. Pour a couple inches deep of water in the pan and then set the tamales in standing up, folded end down, onto the steamer separating them from the water. Once all the Tamales are in, put the lid on and turn stove on medium heat. Once the water begins to boil, turn on medium low and cook for a full 2 hours. Check the water every 30 minutes or so to make sure it doesn't go dry. Add water if it gets low, don't burn yourself on the steam. After 2 hours your little tamales are done. Remove them from the pot. You can choose to eat them or freeze them. 



Green Chili Sauce

2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
1 c milk
1 c sour cream
2 - 7oz cans chopped green chilies

In a saucepan on medium heat cook butter and flour until it turns a light golden brown, just a couple of minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk so that there are no lumps. Whisk in the sour cream and finally stir in the chilies.

Serve with the cooked tamales. You did it! See it wasn't that bad. It probably took me longer to write up the directions than it did to actually make them! Be super proud of yourself and enjoy a plate of the fruits of your labor!


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