While you can find them at any time of the year, the delicious little tamale is especially present during Christmas-time, a staple at any Posada celebration and during the Christmas feasting. There are many different varieties to try, with some fillings made with chicken, some from pork, some from beef; green or red chile can be used, and other ingredients such as potatoes and olives. This savory mixture of ingredients is hidden inside the corn masa flour and lard mixture and inside the corn husk wrapper. As well as the hearty dinner tamales, there are also dessert varieties, made with fruit and nut fillings.
Let’s Make Some Tamales! Recipe for Dinner Tamales
- 1 1/4 pounds chicken, beef or pork loin
- 1 white onion (chopped)
- 1 fresh garlic clove (thinly sliced)or1 tsp garlic power
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 dried California chiles
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups masa harina (flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup lard
- 17 dried corn husks (around 8 inches long)
Place meat, onion, garlic, salt and pepper into a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil the lower to a simmer for 2 hours, or until meat is fully cooked and tender. Remove the meat from the broth and let cool. Shred the meat. Strain and set aside the broth.
Place the California chiles in a pan, add 2 cups of water and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, then blend the mixture in a blender. Strain out any remaining bits of chile, add salt. Pour one cup of the chile sauce into the shredded meat and let sit while you prepare the masa.
Soak the corn husks in warm water to soften them while you make the masa flour mixture. Mix the masa flour, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt together. In another bowl, add a teaspoon of the meat broth to the lard and beat it until it is fluffy. Alternatively add the masa flour mixture and broth to the lard until the dough has a spongy texture.
Remove the husks from the warm water and dry them. Pull one apart into long skinny strands (for tying the tamales later) Spread the dough onto the corn husks, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick on each husk. Place 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture at the lengthwise down the center of each husk. Fold up the husk and tie the ends with small strips of corn husk. Place into a steamer and steam for 1 hour.
* You can adjust this recipe for your own tastes by adding ingredients such as an olive in each tamale, add small, precooked cubes of potato to the meat, etc. Also try different garnishes such as a drizzle of chile sauce on top or a dollop of sour cream. Get creative!
Delicious, Savory Tamales…
Don’t forget to read about the winner of the 2012 Tamal Festival in San Felipe, go and check it out HERE
More recipes and references here:
Traditional Pork Tamales
Pork Tamales Recipe
Sada y Bombón