BEEF or PORK TAMALES
Prep Time: 5 Hours
Yields: 60 Tamales
Comment: Tamales like meat pies or empanadas are the most basic of Native American foods. Sitting around a blazing fire, our earliest cultures could roast meat or fish on a tree branch and once cooked chop it finely and then wrap it or encase it in a crushed corn or flour coating. This is the origin of these two dishes.
Ingredients for meat filling:
2 pounds ground round or ground pork
1 cup diced onions
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth
2 tbsps minced garlic
1 (1.23-ounce) package chili seasoning mix
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tbsps jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps salt
In a skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heat. Mix in all remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook until mixture is just slightly saucy.
Ingredients for tamale batter:
3½ cups masa harina
2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth or water, warm
1⅓ cups solid shortening or lard
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps salt
1⅓ cups low-sodium chicken broth
In a large mixing bowl, combine masa harina and 2¼ cups warm chicken broth or water. Mix well then set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine shortening, baking powder and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup masa mix and ⅓ cup stock and beat until thoroughly combined. Continue adding 1 cup masa mix with ⅓ cup stock beating after each addition until entire mixture is light and fluffy. The batter should be soft and able to hold its shape in a spoon. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Ingredients for Assembly:
2 packages corn husks
beef or pork filling (see above)
tamale batter (see above)
Place cornhusks in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then transfer husks and water to a large bowl. Cover with a plate to keep husks submerged and allow to soak 1 hour. Remove husks from water. Unroll one large piece and tear lengthwise along the grain to make ¼-inch wide strips, 1 per tamale. Remove another large piece and lightly pat dry. Place flat on work surface with pointed end away from you. Spread ¼ cup tamale batter onto the middle of the husk. Place 1–2 tablespoons of filling on top of batter. Pick up the long sides of husk so batter incases filling. Bring sides together to form a cylinder. Fold the pointed end under and the flat end up to meet it. Finish by tying rolled tamale with a ¼-inch husk strip. Repeat process, tearing more strips as necessary.
To Steam Tamales:
Line bottom of steamer basket with cornhusks. Set basket in steamer pot. Lay tamales in steamer basket. Cover tamales with additional cornhusks. Cover pot. Steam on high heat until steam puffs out, then reduce to medium. Steam 1 hour adding more water if necessary. Test the tamales by unwrapping one. It is done when the dough comes free from wrapper and feels soft. If dough sticks to wrapper, rewrap and steam 15–20 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes before serving.