Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One hot tamale!

I made a big batch of tamales for the second time in my life last week. The first time was an utter failure, but this time I did my homework. They came out pretty good and my boys managed to devour five dozen of them within a week!

They're pretty easy to make IF you make it into a two day process!

First, I made a trip to the Mexican market. I got some pre-made masa and a bag of dried ancho chilies. The chilies were still pretty fresh and I had no trouble splitting them open and removing their seeds:
After de-seeding the whole bag, I placed them in a large pot and covered with water (or you could use beef stock). I added a couple of chopped cloves of garlic, cumin, and onion powder and brought it to a slow steady boil. Cook the peppers until tender. Transfer peppers and some of the juice to your food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
You now have a beautiful mole sauce!
Store overnight in the fridge (it really helps the flavors to blend).
Then I put some pork shoulder into the crock pot with some onion, garlic, and other spices to cook overnight.
The next morning, I put my corn husks on to soak in hot water (at least one hour if not two!)
I shredded the pork and mixed it with the mole sauce. Then I strained the meat juices and mixed some in with the masa. The masa should be the consistency of smooth peanut butter.
I set up shop at the kitchen table with everything in reach.
Take a corn husk and spread on the masa in about a 4x4 inch square. The first couple of tamales I did with my fingers and it was too thick! I soon learned to spread it with a spatula to be thin:
Next, place the shredded pork/mole mixture down the center of the masa:
Roll the tamale up and over the meat mixture:
Fold up the long end of your corn husk:
And roll the rest up into a perfect little package:
Place tamales standing up in your tamale steamer and steam for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Whatever you do DO NOT let the water dry up!
Place some pennies in the bottom of the pot to signal when the water levels get low!
Like I said, the boys devoured all five dozen of these within a week!
These were also very economical to make. Here's a cost breakdown:

10 lbs pre-made masa = $6.00 (I only used half and saved the other for another future batch)
5 lbs. pork shoulder = $10.00 (I also only used half of the meat mixture and froze the rest!)
1 bag of ancho chilies = $5.00
Total = $21.oo for five dozen
(and actually the number is closer to TEN dozen because I still have enough ingredients to make more!)
Tamales sell around here for $7.00 a dozen. Which means if I bought them I would have spent $35.oo! I made a savings of $14!

Next weekend I'll try my hand a green tomatillo and chicken tamales!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I know I asked you to tell us how you made them (thank you!!). But I have a confession to make.

I don't think I have EVER eaten a tamale. Not one. Frozen, fresh, whatever, nope, not to my knowledge.

Sad, isn't it?

Maybe I need to tool down there and have some of yours ;-)

They look delicious, and it actually looks pretty easy (I think I watched Alton Brown make these on one of his Good Eats episodes..). Although I'm sure creative photo editing and "time elapsed" blogging helps with that, lol.

Do you make the filling spicy, or do you go minimalist? We're spicy fans here (hence the 30 something jalapeno plants we put in last