December 31, 2011

Easy Tamales

I decided to end the year with tamales.  In our family it's not Christmas without them.  My daughter talked me into making them for New Year's Eve.  If you have had tamales before, you know that its a lot of hard work just for one person let alone an army to make.  But I was able to cut down on time and make them without all the hassle.  Let's start with what you need.  Every town has a little grocery store that sells tamale masa already prepared.  The store I went to had the masa out in the bakery section pre-packaged.  They make there masa fresh each day.  I purchased 7 pounds ready made masa that all you had to do was spread.  You also have to make sure to pick up hojas translation (corn husks).  When I pick mine out at the store I look for big and clean.  Because you need to wash and soak them and you want to make sure there big enough to fold easy.  As for fillings this year I made meat, chicken with potato/carrots and cheese ones.  For the chili sauce I have a great recipe that I am posting below.

First things first make sure to have everything ready before you start a spreading.  I like to clean and soak my corn husks for about an hour while I am preparing the meat and sauce.  As for the short cut I bought a roast chicken at the grocery store.  Yes it cuts time on cooking the chicken and shredding it.  I also cooked a chuck roast for the meat with garlic, pepper, salt and a few bay leaves for a few hours, until the meat was falling apart.  I cut up same potatoes and carrots to add to the chicken tamales.  This is what you will need for the sauce:

6 Tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 cup of flour
2 Tbsp. California chili powder
2 Tbsp. New Mexico chili powder
4 cups of Chicken broth
salt, pepper, & garlic salt for taste.

Heat the 6 Tbsp. of oil over medium heat, when its hot add the flour a little at a time mixing it with a wire whisk or fork to make smooth.  You only need to brown it not over cook the two.  Before you start you want to mix the 4 cups of chicken broth warmed up with the chili powders so it is combined like liquid.  Pour the chicken broth and chili powder into the flour mixture a little at a time and whisk as you go so you don't get lumpy sauce.  Once it is all together add the salt, pepper and garlic salt and let seamier together until bubbly then turn off.  I like to add a little of the sauce to the masa after it has cooled to give it taste.  Make sure to add your chicken or beef to the sauce.

Dry the corn husk completely before spreading the masa on them.  You want to use the smooth side up for spreading.  I like to use a knife instead of a spoon I find it easier.  As you can see above evenly coat the corn husk.
Time to fill in the center with what you want.  Chicken and sauce is what I was doing for these ones.  Not to much or your tamales will over flow when cooking and not stay together.  I say about a spoonful in the middle center part is good.
It's folding time, one side first and then the other side. 
Last part is to fold the tail end up.  Just a hint before cooking that my mother taught me to put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes to help bind them together for cooking.

I know that most of us might not have a tamale pot handy, but that's okay.  I use a spaghetti pot, that I line the bottom with extra wet corn husk that I did not use.  place a soup bowl that is made out of glass upside down in the center of the pot.  Fill the pot with about two cups of water and while you are cooking you will want to add more water if it evaporates.  Stack the tamales in a circle around the bowl until they are standing up in a tight circle. Place a clean wet dish towel or rag over the top of the tamales and cover with a lid.  Start off cooking them on medium high until you hear the water boil, then place the setting to low.  Normally tamales can take up to 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs depending on how many you have in the pot.  While cooking check on them about every 30 minutes to make sure the water is not low.  Once you get close to 1 1/2 hrs take one out of the pot and place on a plate to see if they are cooked or need more cooking.  How you know if they are cooked the masa will not look wet.  Once they are cooked you will want them to cool down for storing.  You can store them by placing into Ziploc baggies.  You can keep them in the refrigerator up to 4 days or place in the freezer which will last you for months.  Either way you can enjoy these great tamales.


Post a Comment