here are a few of the tamales Anna made, the rest were packaged and put in the freezer to enjoy for the next few months
This is a post from four years ago but I thought it was worth posting again. I just finished my tamales yesterday and am wondering how many more years I will be able to make them. It is hard work but one of my favorite projects. If you try it, you might like to have a friend over to help with the work.
I learned to make tamales from my neighbor Goya Piná when I was first married, almost 63 years ago. It is easier to learn from helping and watching than from reading a recipe. But you will learn fast, tamales are the most wonderful of all Mexican foods. My two boys learned to make them and then my daughters in law and granddaughters too. Debbie keeps them in her freezer all year long for Dan to take to work for lunch. There is something special about laying six or ten or fifteen dozen tamales out on the counter to cool and to then package up for the freezer. Such an accomplishment and what fun! (it will make your back tired)
Buy 2 pork roast,
10 lb bag chicken hind quarters
4 lb bag of MesaCa Instant Corn Mix, (flour sections at HEB or Wal-Mart)
2 Pkg. Fiesta Brand Corn Shucks, (it will be by the Mesa Mix)
Garlic Powder (buy large bottle)
Gibharts Chili Powder
Camino or Cumin (buy large bottle)
2 pork roast,
(cut into fist size chunks, cover with water and boil about 2 1/2 hours or until really tender. Take meat out of broth to cool, then shred it with your fingers, removing the fat. Save broth in refrigerator and the next day you can skim the hard fat off the broth and throw it out.
Chicken Hind Quarters
Cover with water in large pot, boil until done, about 1 1/2 hours. Then take chicken out of broth, let broth cool and put it in the refrigerator, when it is cold the fat will come off in a chunk. Remove skin from chicken, take meat off the bones, and shred. (don’t grind)
Combine both meats in large pan, and mix together, then add the seasoning (below), and thoroughly mix with your hands. This takes about 10 minutes.
1/2 c corn oil
6 T. Gibharts chili powder
3 T garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
3 T ground cumin (cumino)
1 T.(or less) black pepper or to taste, start off with about half this much pepper and then add more if you want them hotter.
1 1/2 T salt, or to taste. After you mix in the salt, keep tasting until it seems right. You might need a little more. Be careful with the salt, too much can ruin the tamales.
Mix the oil and seasoning in a small pan and warm on stove. Pour over meat and mix until it is completely distributed through meat. Keep tasting until the flavor suits you. Put the meat in the refrigerator covered until ready to make the tamales.
Day Two or Tamale Day
Mesa dough mix:
2 lbs. MesaCa instant corn mix (It comes in a 4 lb bag, use half a bag).
Broth from the pork and chicken that has had the fat skimmed off. Have it warm.
2 c corn oil
1 1/2 T salt (it may take more salt, just taste and add more if needed, be careful with the salt)
1 T cumin, (you can also add 1 T cumin seeds if you have them)
2 T Gibharts Chili Powder
3 T garlic powder
In a large bowl mix the spices into the mesa until it is complete incorporated. Add the oil and about 2 quarts of the warm chicken /pork broth. Work with your hands to make dough, then start adding more broth and work it in. If it is too dry, you will add enough warm water to get it right for spreading. It should be about like thick peanut butter. Shucks: Place in warm water in the sink to soften, for about an hour, separate them carefully~Notice! if you have left over meat, you can freeze it and make another batch of tamales on another day. It will keep in the freezer perfectly for about 3 months (when you aren’t so tired~)
Putting Tamales Together
Take some of the shucks out of water, shake water off and lay them on the counter.
it should be the about like peanut butter, it won’t hurt you to eat it raw~we tamale cooks do lots of tasting~
spread masa 2/3rds from left side, leave 1/3rd on the right side and top third clean
Lay a shuck across your palm, the small end toward your fingers, scoop up about 1/2 cup of the dough onto a spatula and smear it on the shuck (you want to cover the shuck on the left side to about 2/3rds over, leaving 1/3rd with no masa on it. Now, go to the next shuck and do the same, laying them out on the counter as you put the masa on them.
here is the chicken and pork that has been shredded, don’t chop or grind it.
put a tablespoon of meat on top of masa and roll up, then tuck the top under
When you run out of room, take some of the meat, about a tablespoon full and lay it on the masa, one inch from the left edge. Roll the tamale up like you were rolling a cigarette, then fold top of shuck over and lay it on the counter with the fold on the underside. Now, keep doing until all the shucks with the masa are rolled.
tucking the top end under, lay them on the counter with the tucked side on the bottom until ready to put in the pot
Get more shucks and repeat the same process. You will have about 4 dozen or more. To cook the tamales, you need a large pot with something in the bottom to keep the tamales up out of the water while they steam. You can crumple up a bunch or foil in the bottom and put a cooking rack on top of that to keep up out of the water.
tilt the pan over and start stacking tamales in until it is full, now you don’t want them packed too tightly~
Start Stacking the tamales upright, I tilt the pan on it’s side to stack them. The open end will face upwards. Add about 3 pints of hot water, put on the lid and bring to boil, then reduce to medium heat and steam for about 2 hours. Check water level several times, you DON’T want it to boil dry, add more hot water as needed.
add three pints of hot water put lid on and steam for 2 hours. Check often to see that the water isn’t boiling dry. Add more as necessary, if water boils dry, the tamales will scorch and be ruined~
after two hours, take out one tamale, let cool on counter for 5 minutes, unwrap, the shuck should slip right off, it should be firm with no sticky or wet mas
let the tamales cool completely before packaging them. At this point you can eat as many as you like, who will know~
After two hours, take one tamale out and lay on counter to cool for five minutes, then unwrap it it test for doneness. It should be firm with no raw or wet looking masa. When done, remove all tamales from pan and cool on the counter.
six tamales will fit nicely in a quart size freezer bag.
When completely cool, place six to a bag in quart size freezer bags.
I usually have three pots of tamales steaming at once. You can buy nice large steaming pots at Wal Mart and they are not expensive. This will be a proud day for you if this is your first time to make tamales. You will feel rich! Your family will be thankful ~