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Karen From Colorado
Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:27 pmFood.com Groupie
¡Buenos días! Welcome to the Tamale Class
The first step is to make sure you have all the ingredients on hand in order to make the recipe you have chosen.
Today, we will be using the following recipes, but please feel free to pick whatever recipe you like, as there are many posted here on Recipezaar.
Traditional Tamales (Pork)
Red Chili Sauce (To Be Used With Traditional Tamales)
Once you have your ingredients. You will need to start the filling first. In our case, we are using pork. Cut your pork into pieces and place them in a large pot with water to cover the meat. Add onions, garlic and salt. Cutting the meat into pieces will help in reducing your cooking time.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Allow to simmer for about 2 1/2 hours.
Since we have some time to kill while our meat is cooking, I'm going to go ahead and post the steps to making the Red Chili Sauce (To Be Used With Traditional Tamales). This can be done now, while your meat is cooking.
Step 1 - Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers.
Be sure to use GLOVES!
Step -2 - Place peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Step 3 - Roast in 350 degree oven for 2 to 5 minutes or until you smell a sweet roasted aroma, checking often to avoid burning.
Be sure to stay in the kitchen while these are in the oven, and let your nose be your timer!
Step 4 - Remove from oven and soak in enough hot water to cover for about 30 minutes or until cool.
Step 5 - Put peppers and 2 1/2 cups of the soaking water into a blender.
Step 6 - (save the remaining soaking water) Add garlic, cumin and salt.
Step 7 - Cover and blend until smooth.
Step 8 - In a 2 qt sauce pan, stir flour into oil or melted shortening over med heat until browned.
Step 9 - Carefully stir in blended chili mixture.
Step 10 - Simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. (If sauce gets too thick, stir in up to 1 cup of the remaining soaking water until you reach the desired thickness)
After your pork has been simmering for 2-2 1/2 hours, you will need to check and see if your meat is done. I remove a piece from the water, place it on a cutting board and insert a thermometer. The temperature should be 160F for pork.
Remove meat from broth and allow both meat and broth to cool. You are going to need the broth for the masa, so DO NOT DISCARD BROTH! In step 6 of the recipe, it says to reserve 6 cups of broth!
I placed my broth in a pitcher and placed in in the refrigerator. Once the broth cooks, the fat will harden on the top and can easily be scooped out and discarded.
Shred the meat using 2 forks, discarding fat.
In a large sauce pan, heat the red chili sauce and meat. Simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
Once the meat has been shredded and cooked in the chili sauce, you can do one of two things.
One, you can cover it and place it in the the refrigerator if you plan on assembling your tamales the next day.
Or two, you can start your masa so you can go ahead and assemble the tamales.
Before you assemble your tamales, you need to make sure your dried corn husks are soft. So you need to take them out of the package and layer then in a large pan or in your clean sink.
Boil a large pot of water.
Pour the boiling water slowly over the husks. The husks will probably try to float up above the water so weight them down with something heavy (I use heave lids) to keep them all submerged.
Here are the directions from the recipe for making the masa.
To make masa beat shortening on medium speed in a large bowl for 1 minute.
In a seperate bowl, stir together masa harina, baking powder and 2 teaspoons salt.
Alternately add masa harina mixture and broth to shortening, beating well after each addition. (Add just enough broth to make a thick, creamy paste).
~NOTE~ I took this picture before adding all the broth, but I did use all the broth, so the picture of the masa in the mixing bowl looks a little stiff.
Next, You will need to drain your corn husks. Place them near your working space on a clean dry dish towel.
Make sure you have everything you need at your work space. I use the kitchen table, so I can sit while I do this.
Small spatula (for spreading masa)
A pan or dish to put the assembled tamales on.
Lay out 1 corn husk. If they are small use two and over lap them.
Spread 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk.
Place about 1 tablespoon meat and sauce mixture in the middle of the masa.
First you will fold the long sides up to meet in the center.
I should have taken a better picture, but you want the masa to meet in the center (so that later when you take the husks off after steaming there will be masa all around the meat.
The husks should be facing up, like in the picture above. Then fold the excess husk it to the right or left.
Then the bottom gets folded up.
Rip thin strips of husks (with the grain so they will be long) for ties.
To keep the end up, take a tie and wrap it around the bottom of the tamale and tied it in a knot.
Depending on the size of your steamer, you might need to steam in batches. If this is the case, when you get enough tamales wrapped, you can go ahead and steam some while you continue to wrap the rest.
Place some water at the bottom of your steamer, then place the insert on top. Make sure that your insert is above the water level so that your tamales will not be sitting in water. If you don't have an insert to keep the tamales off the bottom and out of the water, you can use a heavy-foil pie plate and poke holes in it. Place it inverted, inside the pot.
Place the tamales in the steamer with the tops facing up, so the filling doesn't come out the top.
Place the steamer on the stove. Turn on the heat and wait for the water to boil. Once it begins to boil, cover the steamer with the lid and reduced the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 40 minutes. You might need to add more water during steaming.
They are done when you can take one out of the steamer and carefully (they are hot) peel back a corn husk. If the husk comes away clean, they are done. If they come away with masa sticking to it, they need to steam some more. They should also feel sort of firm to the touch.
If you aren't going to serve all the tamales you made for dinner tonight here is how to store them:
1.) Allow the tamales to cool.
2.) Leave the husks on and place them in ziplock freezer bags.
3.) You can place them in the refrigerator for a few days, then reheat when ready to serve.
4.) Place them in the freezer, and they should keep up to 6 months.
OVEN - Place tamales in a baking dish, with their husks still on, laying on their sides. Sprinkle the top with a little water. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes, or until heated all the way through.
MICROWAVE - Thaw and wrap in a wet paper towel and reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes for one or two.
RE-STEAM - Steam them again for about 20 minutes
If you have questions, please post them in the Mexican Cooking forum where the experts will be happy to answer them for you.
Pictures and demo by KimD
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