19 January 2017

No. 88: ¡Vamos a Hacer Tamales!

¡Vamos a Hacer Tamales!
No. 88: Make Home Made Tamales

Home made tamales. Yum!

I know for many Christmas is a traditional time to make tamales. Lots of people serve them for either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner.  It turns into a family affair with everyone around the table spreading masa and folding up little packets of goodness.  Unfortunately, it's never been a tradition at our house. Every year I say "O! We should have made tamales." But it never happened.

But that changed this year!  Bunny and I decided to tackle tamale making. (So much for the whole family gathering around.  But... you take what you can get.)

I have helped with tamales only one time, about a gazillion million years ago when I lived in San Miguel de Allende. And even then all I did was stuff and fold them up, not actually make the filling or dough.
But I was spurred on by this book, a birthday present from friend Cathy who was also a San Miguel room mate back in the day. I opened it up and there it was: a tamale recipe.

Adorable drawings and lots of inspiration


Off to the local supermercado to procure masa and pork plus a bit of chicken because the Big Guy and the Hubs both said they would prefer chicken tamales. No problem, just toss a little extra work in there....

Boiled chicken as requested. 
And guess what? 
They both preferred the pork.

Here's the ingredients for the dough:

Yep. Lard.
Don't tell.

I did not do traditional pork filling which starts with "boil a pig's head". Nope. I went with a pork loin. I have my limits, even if I am trying for authenticity.

We (I) boiled the seasoned meat and shredded it.

Pork loin, seasoned, boiled and shredded.

Masa was mixed with water and lard to make a paste.

Corn husks were soaked until they were pliable.

It helps to put a small plate on top of the husks 
to keep them under water. 

And here's the part where Bunny stepped in.  (She had been pretty much MIA up until this point.)

Bunny wraps a tamale.

With floppy corn husks, pots of shredded meat and a big bowl of masa in the middle of the table, we went to town. It didn't take long for us to get the hang of spreading and folding.

Everything still looks so neat and clean here...

And now I remember why this is usually a group activity. It is time consuming if there are only two of you. We ended up making 10 dozen tamales. That's 120 tamales. Or 120 tiny hand wrapped packages.

Spreading the masa.
Look at that enormous mess behind me. 
Takes a lot of steps and a lot of pots to make tamales.

After we had folded up a few dozen, I stopped the process and steamed a batch. I wanted to make sure they were going to be edible before we did the rest of them.

A bouquet of tamales in the steamer.

¡Sorpresa!  They were actually pretty tasty. Not as seasoned as I would have liked, but there are some wimpy tastebuds in this house. Compromise.

They certainly look like the real thing.

So we did it! And it was pretty fun. Maybe we have a new tradition.
(But next time I'm inviting friends over so we can share the wealth.  And the folding.)

Wrapped up in packages of six for sharing and freezing.

No. 88:  Shredded, folded and eaten.

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