Authentic Mexican Beef or Chicken Tamales
Makes 2 dozen

Tamale Filling:
2 lbs. lean, boneless beef or chicken
3 Tbs. vegetable oil 
1/4 cup flour 
1 1/2 cups water 
2 tsp. beef base 
1 (7-ounce) can green chilies, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced 
1 1/2 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
2 to 3 Tbs. ground red chili pepper 
1 Tbs. ground chili powder 
1 Tbs. ground cumin 
1/4 cup tomato sauce 

Tamale Dough: 
3 dozen corn husks 
1 1/2 cups lard
1 1/2 tsp. salt 
4 1/2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
2 2/3 cup warm water 

In a large saucepan, cook meat in water until tender. Cool slightly and shred. 

In large skillet heat oil until hot and add beef or chicken and cook until brown. Add the remaining ingredients in the order given. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Tamale Dough:
Soak corn husks in hot water for 30 minutes to make pliable. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat the lard and salt until fluffy. 
Dissolve masa harina in warm water and add to lard mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are combined. 

How to assemble Tamales:
Spread a thin coating of tamale dough over the broadest part of the husk, allowing for turning down. 

Spread 1 tablespoon of filling down center of the dough. Fold the sides of the husk firmly together. Turn up one or both ends of the husk.

If turning up both ends, tear some of the husks lengthwise in narrow strips and use for tying each tamale across the top flap. 

To cook Tamales:
Cook tamales in a conventional steamer or blancher. Fill the bottom of the steamer up to the level indicated and bring to a boil. when the steamer is dry you will need to add more water. 

Line the steamer with corn husks, covering the bottom and sides. Stack the tamales upright.

Place the tamales firmly but not too tightly, because the husks swell as the dough cooks. Cover the tamales with more husks and the top of the steamer with a thick cloth to absorb the moisture. Cover with a tight fitting lid. 

Steam for about 2 1/2 hours. To test the tamales for doneness, remove one from center of the steamer. The dough should peel away easily from the husks and be completely smooth. The dough should also appear spongy and well cooked throughout. 

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