Homemade Tamales, yes I said, homemade tamales...let the fun begin...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On my first day off as past president of the chamber, I had a ton of things to do and wrap up but I added this culinary chore to my day...and it was unbelievably worth it. In fact, it's just astounding...

I found a recipe for tamales in three of my cookbooks but for some reason I went straight to google. I said, "how to make tamales", and I found sonofthesouth.net/tamales. This is a candid recipe with step by step instructions of how to make this southern tradition.

I have to confess I put the pork roast on in this recipe at 7:00 a.m. when I was getting Chloe off to school, checking my email, then working out in between phone calls. I made the filling, Masa and soaked the husks and got about 1/2 prepared until I had to go to town for a meeting. I refrigerated it all except the husks and finished up at 3:30 after school. I freaked when I realized that I didn't have the apparatus to steam a batch and ended up using my stainless colander in a pot to steam these boys for 2 hours. One recipe on the Food Network said to cook them in a saucepan, filled tight with tamales and just a bit of water. It did work but my colander steam pan filled with the pan juices from cooking the pork was just a bit better. Even Jackie said, after a few minutes of processing his usual judgement on my cooking, "um, these are the best tamales I've ever had. Better than Doe's. You need to give these to Boone and Martin." Well, enough said. I've frozen the extra for later, the recipe recommends freezing in small batches so I did. A couple of days ago I grabbed one out of the freezer, microwaved it for 1-1/2 minutes on high and I was in heaven with several dashes of Tabasco.

Hot Tamale Recipe (you can read this via www.sonofthesouth.net, but I am adding what I did here....)
6-8 lb. pork butt roast, I used a 6 lb. on sale at Hays for $1.00/lb.
Corn oil, I used canola
6 lb. fryer chicken, I only used pork
Garlic Powder, you need 1/2 Cup
Chili Powder, you need 1/2 Cup
Ground Cumin
Cumin Seeds, you need this, don't skimp!
Paprika, you need 1/4 Cup
4 lb. bag Masa
Corn Husks, I used only one bag, found in the produce section
Tabasco, don't use Louisiana Hot Sauce or any other hot sauce, Tabasco is best!

Cut the pork roast into fist size chunks, I had about 6, cover with water in a large soup pot. Boil, then simmer with the lid on 2-1/2 hours. Keep the broth in the refrigerator (it does kinda stink) and cool meat and shred with hands, not forks. I also pulled the fat off using a knife, I didn't realize how much fat there was in a pork roast!!

Corn Husks:
Soak in a sink full of water for 2 hours. I did this half way through cooking the meat. Separate gently after they've soaked so they don't break apart. Then drain on kitchen towels, and I topped with a towel to help get the water off.

Season the meat:
1/2 C. corn oil, I used canola
6 T. chili powder
3 T. garlic powder
3 T. ground cumin
2 T. salt
1 T. pepper

Warm the oil and seasonings in a small saucepan and add to meat. Use your hands and really incorporate all of this into the meat so some isn't more coated than others. I don't eat a lot of meat but I nibbled on this during the process and it was divine!

Make the dough:
2 lbs. masa, 1/2 the 4 lb. bag
3 T. paprika
3 T. salt
1 T. cumin seeds
3 T. chili powder
3 T. garlic powder
2 C. canola oil
8 C. reserved broth, warmed

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients very well. Then add oil incorporating throughout. Then add the broth, 1 cup at a time while mixing. I had to keep scraping off the bottom of the bowl to get it all mixed.

To make the tamale: (you might want to go to his website, it's very comical!)
Get a husk and put a good amount of masa in the center and one said and all the way to the tip. Put about 2 tablespoons meat or so in the middle and roll up and turn the bottom up. It took me about an hour to roll them all myself. Jackie also told me to practice rolling them out better so they don't fall apart, but he didn't let his tamale rest before he opened it and ate it, dang it.

To cook tamales:
I used a colander but I am shopping for the right equipment. Use some of that broth and water and boil in a big soup pan and steam the tamales for 2 hours with the lid on. Your house will smell like an El Chico but it is so worth it. I did steam just a few at a time because of my mini steel colander. I took the advice of the Food Network version and tightly packed a saucepan with water in the bottom and put the lid on, the tamales did get damp on the bottom so I think the steamer version is better.

I am tired here, but it was a worthwhile event! Kara told me next time to have a Tamale Party, they are so good it would be fun to share them with my culinary friends! I am craving one right now...I think I'll head to my freezer...

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