Nothing says Christmas in New Mexico like Tamales,--except maybe luminarias (brown paper lunch bags filled with sand and a candle). As the weather turns cold these delectable little morsels of delicious greatness start popping up everywhere and it’s practically impossible to attend a holiday party and not eat one. As I am a gringa I have eaten my fair share of tamales but have never made one. However, The Mama Hart belongs to a quilting group made predominately of 70 year old Hispanic women and the girls decided it was time she learn to make tamales. Cordelia and I decided we wanted to learn too and helped. And by helping we mean we showed up just in time to eat the end product. So basically we learned noting about making a tamale, but here is a brief overview of what we did pick up.
First you need to make your filling. This is done by throwing some kind of pork and a bunch of red chili into the crock pot with a little bit of water and letting it cook all night. When it is done it will look something like this.
Then you need to make the dough or masa. From what I understand you can make this from scratch which is a totally complicated ordeal or you can buy it at Costco. Personally I vote for the Costco method, but that’s because I’m not a cook. Once it is all prepared it will look like, well, finely ground up corn with water mixed in.
Finally you need corn husk wrappers. Soak these in worm water to soften them up.
Now that you have all your ingredients ready, it’s time to roll the tamales.
Start by taking a corn husk wrapper and smear some masa in it. This is the good stuff so if I were you I would be quite generous.
Plop some of the shredded meat on top of this.
And now roll the tamale up by folding the sides in and then the bottom up.
Continue until you have used up all your ingredients. Today we made 7 dozen of these babies! And by we, I mean everyone but Cordelia and me.
Throw them in a pot to steam for about 45 to 90 minutes to cook the masa. You know the tamales are done when they peel out of the corn husk cleanly.
Now you devour each and every one of these tasty little treats. Or if you don’t think you can handle eating 7 dozen in the immediate future, freeze some so you can find them in the back of your refrigerator in July and it will be the happiest day of the summer!
~Melisa & Cordelia