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Making Tamales


lovebenton0
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The tamales are still happening! Just had to be on an extended time schedule. Which is not a bad thing because today I have my DH home for Christmas Eve to help with the masa. As I have no mixer at this point the masa will be done old-style (read: by four hands!).

The pork has been cooked and pulled, is now awaiting addition of stock pureed with anchos, hot chilies, onions, cumin and garlic, and the raisins, pecans, allspice, ginger.

The corn husks have been soaking for about an hour.

Yes, I will post pics after we're done. :biggrin:

Tamales for Christmas Eve dinner. :wub:

Edited by lovebenton0 (log)

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Christmas Eve tamalada. Just the DH and myself (he helped to mix the masa, and was very helpful with the eating!), put together a small batch of three dozen pork tamales. This was just a first go. My dear friend Holly and I with the help of her son Raven will have another tamalada after she returns from Christmas family visits.

So today we started with the pork I braised in the crockpot two days ago, now shredded and chilled.

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Two anchos, and a few each dried red MX hot chilies and roasted dried red Anaheims (both from our garden), and cumin simmering in the pork stock reduction.

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Meanwhile the onions and garlic were roasting in my cast iron dutch oven.

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Since I don't have a mixer, I used the food processor to cut the pork lard into the masa. Then I took about a third of the dry masa mix and added the total amount of the stock, some of my hot salsa canned during the summer and a bit of the ancho/chili/cumin liquid to make a thin batter-like mixture. Next I incorporated the rest of the masa with a wooden spoon and mixed for several minutes then handed it over to my DH to finish mixing for another several minutes. He didn't mind, he could do that and watch football at the same time. :wink:

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After adding the pan roasted onions and garlic to simmer with the ancho mixture, I toasted some pecans in the dutch oven. Meanwhile the red flame grape raisins (a wonderful artisanal holiday gift from a friend) were soaking in lime and mango juice. These along with Kosher salt, the allspice and ginger were combined together with the shredded pork.

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I finished the masa.

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I added the lime/mango juice to the ancho/onion mixture. After pureeing that in the food processor it was added to the pork.

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We now have the pork filling. :biggrin:

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The assembly line today was me. :rolleyes: So I started by laying about a dozen husks on a tray with the masa to one side. I'd pat out the masa on the husks a dozen at a time.

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Then added the pork filling, rolled 'em up and set on a tray to wait to be added to the steamer. (I used my big pasta steamer - worked perfectly -- the three dozen tamales just fit standing upright with a layer of husks on top.)

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An hour and a half later -- pork tamales, ready to eat! :biggrin::wub:

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Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Neglected to add that although I didn't take any more pics, the tamales were served with a salad of leaves of heart of Romaine topped with roasted corn/green chilies/tomatillos. And beer (NA for me).

Followed later by cinnamon stick/MX vanilla coffee and a nice dessert plate of a lakhoum square and dried fruits: a Laila fig, Red Flame grapes sprinkled with slivers of candied ginger and a few apricots. Perfect bit of fruit and sweet after the rich, spicy tamales. :biggrin:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Judith and everyone else: all that tamale love just makes me convinced that FNW is seriously misguided. This is the real food. Same as the northern cuisines made with the huge community efforts.

I have just one suggestion that might help youall (or not)...If you can remember to save any dry-shelly corn cobs, or can buy them marked down after the harvest decorations are out of season, those corn cobs as a base in your steamer liquid are a very good way to add more depth to your maiz flavor; as well as a very good steamer base.

Edited by Mabelline (log)
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Judith and everyone else: all that tamale love just makes me convinced that FNW is seriously misguided. This is the real food. Same as the northern cuisines made with the huge community efforts.

I have just one suggestion that might help youall (or not)...If you can remember to save any dry-shelly corn cobs, or can buy them marked down after the harvest decorations are out of season, those corn cobs as a base in your steamer liquid are a very good way to add more depth to your maiz flavor; as well as a very good steamer base.

Thanks, Mabelline for that tip (and the kind words :biggrin: ). I never thought of that!

You too phifly -- wish I could have shared them with all of you! :rolleyes:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Oh my goodness. That pork filling looks too good to believe. I am saving this link. The addition of the salsa to the masa it truly inspired. You are just about to convince me that I need to make tamales. You just can't buy something like that. Those things exude LOVE.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Oh my goodness. That pork filling looks too good to believe. I am saving this link. The addition of the salsa to the masa it truly inspired. You are just about to convince me that I need to make tamales. You just can't buy something like that. Those things exude LOVE.

Gee, thanks . . . :blush::biggrin:

We had them yesterday morning for breakfast with eggs too. :rolleyes:

It was so much fun! And the rewards for doing it are still with us, though they'll be gone soon. I'm ready to do it again with my friend this next week. Wish you weren't so far away, fifi. If we could only get everyone's tamales together for a feast . . . :wub:

Abra, I still want to make your beautiful mole tamales!

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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  • 11 months later...
Ok, tamale-making time is rolling right around.  Who else is planning a big tamale-fest for this Christmas?

Abra, I just now read your fabulous illustrated tamale-fest from last year. I was wondering if you could share what you came up with for the vegetarian version, for both the dough (butter instead of lard perhaps?) and the filling (you had mentioned you were considering corn and cheese I think).

Thank you!

Edited by Steven Blaski (log)
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Ok, tamale-making time is rolling right around.  Who else is planning a big tamale-fest for this Christmas?

Abra, I just now read your fabulous illustrated tamale-fest from last year. I was wondering if you could share what you came up with for the vegetarian version, for both the dough (butter instead of lard perhaps?) and the filling (you had mentioned you were considering corn and cheese I think).

Thank you!

hi steven--i'm not abra, but we just did a tamalada at my cooking school (and three more next week...) and the very sucessful veggie version included butter and vegetable stock in the masa, and cheese, roasted chiles and black beans in the filling. they went over big!

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Didnt make these but, where else am I going to post this tamale guy I came across yesterday..

Had them steaming in this little cart.. Lots of water..

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Anyway.. They were wrapped in bananna leaves.. They were extremely wet and texturally :biggrin: speaking, excellent..

Some green hot sauce..

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I really think I like the bananna leaf over the corn husk..

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hi steven--i'm not abra, but we just did a tamalada at my cooking school (and three more next week...) and the very sucessful veggie version included butter and vegetable stock in the masa, and cheese, roasted chiles and black beans in the filling. they went over big!

Thanks for the tips, chezcherie!

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So happy this thread got bumped up! I'm having a tamalada this Saturday and am currently getting supplies together. I'm going to roughly follow a recipe given to me by the chef at the hospital where I used to work. Every year, right before Christmas, he made the most delicious tamales, and I finally cornerd him and asked if he'd share how he made them. Thankfully, he was flattered and more than happy to give me directions, loose as they are. I'm planning on making chicken and pork cooked with ancho chiles and a vegetarian version with fresh corn, cheese, and chiles. I've made tamales in the past, but it's been quite a while so the pictures are especially helpful.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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My favorite mexican restaurant does an interesting tamal variation where they stuff the masa into roasted poblanos before steaming. The flavor of the chile permeates the masa nicely with a stronger flavor note than either corn husks or banana leaves. They serve them in threes with fillings of huitlacoche, shrimp and turkey picadillo with red white and green pipian sauces.

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Steven - I have to refer to the pictures I posted above to see how I made them. It looks like the vegetarian version didn't get written down, but from the picutres I see that I used light olive oil and veg broth for the masa, and roasted poblanos, cotija, corn, and salsa verde for the filling. A new reason for taking pictures of your prep, it's a substitute recipe when you've forgotten what you did!

I love that idea of stuffing a poblano with a tamale, kind of like that inside-out sushi with the rice on the outside of the roll.

Tejon, please show your work! Inspiration from the first tamalada of the season will be wonderful.

Lovebenton, was that gorgeous pork filling of yours written down, or improvised? It has so many nice touches and it's still calling to me a year later.

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Question on yields for those who have done tamales in larger amounts. How many tamales should 4 pounds of meat+sauce make? I'm feeding 12 - 14 adults and a few very small fry but would also like enough to send everyone home with a bag full of tamale goodness as well. I've already simmered 4 pounds of chicken legs and thighs and was thinking another 4 pound pork roast as well. Too much? Any leftovers that don't go home with guests can go in the deep freeze, so I'm really more concerned that there be enough for everyone.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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No, I don't think that would be too much at all. For one thing, the filling will freeze perfectly, so if you burn out on stuffing tamales you can pop it in the freezer and make something dynamite out of it another time. And if you want to have leftovers and some to send home with your guests, I'd make even more.

It's hard to gauge how much you need because you haven't said what else is on the menu, if anyone won't eat carbs, and so on. I make big tamales, and people usually eat 2-3 each, with a good salad and maybe some beans.

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No non-carbers in the group. The surrounding dishes are light: a red cabbage and orange slaw, roasted green onions, and a Moroccan carrot salad with cumin that should go nicely with all the flavors. Guacamole, salsa, and chips as sustenance while everyone prepares the tamales, and a small starter of fresh corn tamales with chiles and cheese to nibble as well. Sangria to wash it all down :wink:. Then something rich and creamy for dessert.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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So far I've rendered 5 pounds of pork fat, cooked up the chicken and the pork, made a green sauce for the chicken and assembled and cooked fresh corn tamales. I'm currently steaming three test tamales to check seasonings in the green sauce and the smell is lovely. Can't wait to make the rest of them all up on Saturday!

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Made the tamales tonight. I invited a bunch of friends over and we all lined up at a table with masa, fillings, and husks. The crowd pleasing favorite was sweet masa with cajeta as a filling, though I leaned towards the plain masa with cotija myself. The freshly rendered lard really made a difference in the masa, which was delicious all by itself. The recipe I used for the masa included a bit of ground rice which seemed to lighten a little and really allow the flavors of the broth and lard to shine through.

Tamale pot:

tamalepot.jpg

Chicken with cilantro and cotija cheese, sweet masa with cajete, and pork with anchos (the plain cotija ones were long gone by the time I got this shot - will have to make more of them):

tamales.jpg

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Tell us more about the sweet tamales. I adore cajeta, and never thought of getting it into a tamale. Did you sweeten the dough, then use that as filling, or incorporate it right into the dough?

I'll be doing black tamales again this year, as well as at least one other type for my vegetarian, so I'm making mole this week. It's such a huge ritual for me and I really look forward to it every year,

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