Tamales Made Easy





  • First, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato and continue cooking until a sauce has formed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the beef to the mixture and cook, breaking it into smaller pieces, until the meat loses its pink color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the chicken broth and continue cooking, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove the filling from the heat and let it cool.
  • Make the dough. Put the hominy in a food processor and pulse it until it's smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the cheese and butter and pulse until well blended, about 30 seconds more. Add the eggs and the yolk and pulse again. Add the mustard, baking powder, salt, and hot sauce and process until a light, fluffy dough has formed. Transfer the dough to a cake pan, spread it over the bottom, and divide it into 10 portions.
  • To assemble each tamale, place half a portion of dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten the dough into a 3- by 5-inch rectangle, then spread 1/4 cup of filling onto the center of the rectangle. Cover the filling with the other half of the dough and pat it down. Tightly fold the parchment paper around the tamale and secure it with twine (http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/how-to-wrap-a-tamale-877507/).
  • Fit each of two large pots with a steaming basket or colander. Add water to each pot, filling it to just below the bottom of the basket. Remove the baskets and bring the pots of water to a boil.
  • Loosely arrange five tamales in each basket, leaving space for steam to circulate as the tamales cook. When the water is boiling in each pot, set a basket inside and cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel. Top the towel with a tightly fitting lid and steam the tamales, replacing water as needed until they are firm to the touch, about 30 to 40 minutes. Use tongs to remove the tamales from the baskets (a parent's job). Let the tamales cool slightly before serving with your favorite salsa. Makes 10 tamales.