Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mexican Cooking - Tamales

I hostessed a second Mexican cooking lesson, and am finally blogging about it! At the first lesson, when I asked what we should make next time, I got mixed answers. Everyone had a different vote... until a second person voted for Tamales - Serena, I think that was you! I was not excited, since I don't like tamales. But when I told that to Sandy the Chef, she said, "But you haven't tried mine!" So I gave in. And boy am I glad I did!

I am not posting this in my Tastebook or TastyKitchen because I am never making it again without Sandy present, and I am skeptical that any of you will, either. It is quite the process. Even Sandy says she only makes them twice a year - on Thanksgiving and on her daughter's birthday. So if any of you are brave enough to tackle them on your own, I give you a major pat on the back! Anyway, I will chronicle what we did and try to be detailed in case any of you reading are overachievers and want to make them. By the way, we were able to find everything we needed at Fred Meyer.

First off, we put a big, fatty cut of meat (Sandy says any cut with fat will do) in a large pot, added 2 TBSP salt, covered the meat with water and boiled rapidly, covered, for 2-3 hours.

Then we all chopped and chopped and whipped up some pico de gallo and guacamole to snack on, which I detailed last time. Then we got to work on the rest of the ingredients for the tamales.

First we put a bag of dried Guajillo chili pods (you can also use NM chili pods or CA chili pods) and two large fresh Poblano peppers in the oven, right on the rack at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes (don't let them get black like we did!).

While the peppers cooled, we put a diced 1/2 onion in a hot skillet with some bacon grease for 1-2 minutes, then added 8-9 julienne sliced jalapeƱos with seeds and let that cook for 1-2 minutes. Then we added 3-4 diced roma tomatoes (more if you don't want it spicy). We covered it and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Then we set this aside.

After our roasted peppers cooled, we broke off the stems, broke the peppers in half and dumped out the seeds. Then we boiled them until soft. Then we took them out of the water (reserve it), and put them in a food processor with 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp cumin and 2 tsp salt, and pureed well, adding a little water from the pot until the consistency was a little thinner than ketchup.

Updated measurements: Next we added 7 tsp baking powder to a whole bag (5 lb) of corn masa mix, along with 4 2/3 cup shortening or bacon grease (we used about half and half), along with 10 cups hot broth from the boiled meat (add 2-4 cups at a time, gradually mixing and watch for the right consistency as shown below). 

Then dear Sandy mixed and mixed and mixed by hand...

till it didn't stick to her hands anymore.

This is much like cutting butter into a pie crust. I think Sandy was on the floor mixing with her hands for nearly 20 minutes!

By now, the meat was fork tender and tore apart easily, so we took it out and allowed it to cool for 10-15 minutes before pulling off fat and shredding it with fork or fingers.

Now to assemble the tamales. Sandy showed us how to put a handful sized ball of masa and spread it out on the corn husk toward the wide end, then add meat and/or veggies depending on your preference, add a bit of the pepper sauce, and fold 'er up! We folded both sides in, then the narrow bottom up toward the top, leaving the wide top end open. Here it is in pictures...

Then they all went in the pot, brick style, to steam for one hour!

And then, when you start to smell them...

You whip one out and chow down! Oh, maybe that was just me... They were amazing and so was the company!

Thanks everyone who showed up to take part, and thanks Sandy!!

You can also read Leah's post about it here.

What should we learn to make next time???

1 comment:

  1. Natalie says we should make chile rellenos next time. I think your husband might appreciate that ;)