Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fiesty Fiesta Tamales

Chicken Tamales
Weather you enjoy them spicy of just warm and full of flavor Tamales are fun.  Widely popular during the colder season for their "comfort tendencies" these things are good any time of the year.  There are two basic secrets to getting a tamale just right.  Taste, and texture.  It's not a difficult process but it does take patience and time. 

I have seen everything from basic beans to sweet pineapple used in tamales.  Once you get the masa down just use your imigination.  This recipe will make two dozen so if you really want to bump it up just throw in some extra filling.

2LBS Meat (chicken/pork/beef) of your choice
5 Cloves Garlic
3 Medium Jalapeno Peppers
1 Small Onion
1/4 Cup Mesquite Seasoning
1/4 Cup Chili Powder

Crush garlic and peppers together and chop onion.  Place meat in crock pot.  Add seasonings, garlic, peppers and onion.  Cook on slow temperature for six to eight hours.  Meat should be very tender and fall apart easily.

1/4 Cup Chili Powder
1Tbs Paprika
2 Tsp Cumin
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp red pepper

Remove meat and save broth for later use.  Shred meat with two forks on a baking pan. Once meat is shredded add enough broth to moisten and flavor the filling.  Add dry spices and spread evenly through out the mixture. Set meat aside and let sit while corn husks are prepared.

Step1:  Spread prepared masa over softened corn husk
24 corn husks
2 cups masa harina
2 Tbs bacon grease
2 cups broth left from slow cooked meat (this is where you get the best flavor)

Step 2: Place a good layer of shredded meat on left side of masa
Soak corn husks in a sink of hot water to soften the shell. Add bacon grease to masa.  Using fork blend until mixture is course.  Slowly add broth until masa is moist enough to form a soft ball.  Place corn husk side up on surface.  Keep a glass of very hot water and soup spoon near by.  Drop a glob of masa on husk.  Dip spoon in hot water and use it to smooth the dough across the surface of the corn husk in an even layer that is not too thick.  It should be thin enough to cover the meat.  Leave 2 inches of the right side empty and do not fill the v shape bottom..  Place the filling on the left side of the shell.  Fold the shell over to the open right side and roll.  Tuck up the open bottom of the shell and tie off with a thin strip of husk that can easily be torn from the shell.  Continue process until masa and meat are used.  Layer tamales in pan and cook.

Step 4: Tuck up bottom of husk and tie off
Step 3: Fold husk over masa and tightly roll
You can purchase a tamale pot fairly reasonably at many stores.  They come with an insert that allow the tamales to be lifted off of the water while the rising steam slowly cooks the masa.  With lid on be sure to check often so that pot doesn't boil dry.  Another alternative that works well is a crock pot.  I used a round cookie rack set in the bottom of the dish to rise the layered tamales up from the water.This method takes longer but I found the tamale to be even more moist than usual.  Cook for six hours on high in crock pot.

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