Tuesday, September 20, 2011


These are some of the tastiest things you will ever put in your mouth, but I must preface by saying that it is a lot of work.  I encourage you to make a whole bunch of tamales, have a tamale party, freeze the rest and eat on them for a while.  They will last in the freezer for up to a year.

Before you start anything I suggest you make 2 days of this cooking endeavor.  Day 1 is for shopping for ingredients and cooking your meat.  Day 2 is for making your masa, forming tamales and cooking.

Day 1: make sure you have ALL your ingredients before you get started.  This list makes about 100 tamales. : )...YOU CAN DO IT!

You will need:
4-6 lbs of ground beef
corn or veg oil (2 bottles)
black pepper
garlic powder (large size)
ground cumin (large size)
chili powder (large size)
Paprika (large size)
Cayenne pepper (reg size)
 chicken bullion (large)
(2) 4lb bags of Corn Masa (I used MaSeCa)
real corn shucks (can be found in local mexican store or sometimes on ethnic isle)

Have on hand to make:
A large steamer (big steaming basket works too)
Measuring cup
measuring spoons
spatula or spreader
large skillet or wok
4-6 quart pot
2  extra large bowls

After you buy all your ingredients cook your meat.
I cooked 4 lbs of ground beef in my wok.  Add NO seasoning while cooking. Cook beef thoroughly but do not over cook.  You want it to be chopped up like you are making tacos.
In a pot heat over lowest setting:
 1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon salt

You are not cooking the seasonings, you are just warming them.  Mix well. Poor over cooked meat in a very large bowl and mix until seasonings are even throughout meat.  This will take about 10 min. Then If you like spicy tamales, sprinkle cayenne pepper on meat and stir. Taste/add to your spicy liking.
Let cool, cover with foil and refrigerate.  Clean up and rest...you have a big day tomorrow!

Day 2:
First, soak corn shucks in a sink of warm water.  It may take up to 2 hours to become soft.

Start with 2lbs of your MaSeCa in a large bowl.  (it comes in a 4lb bag, use half)
add the following dry ingredients to the bowl:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Mix spices and MaSeCa thoroughly.
In a pot have 6 cups water and 6 bullion cubes or tablespoons of chicken bullion. Warm but do not boil.

In the Masa Bowl:
Add 2 cups oil.  Stir.
slowly start adding warm chicken stock.  Stir and add until you have a peanut butter consistency. You will need to use your hands here to make sure you mix thoroughly, just like kneading dough.  (too thick and it will be crumbly and hard to spread, but you DO NOT want it runny)
If you ever feel like it is hard to spread...add more chicken stock.

On a towel, lay out some of your soft corn shucks to prepare tamales.
Have your Masa and meat beside you with your spatula or spreader ready.
Take one corn shuck and cover about 2/3 of the shuck with masa leaving 1/3 uncovered and the top uncovered. See picture: You may want to leave more of the top uncovered than what you see in the picture so that you have a nice fold when you roll.
Add 1-3 tablespoons of meat one inch from the covered edge.  Starting with the covered side start rolling and fold over the end after completely rolled.
In your steamer load up your tamales and steam for 2 hours.  Make sure you keep water in your steamer, it will run out a few times in 2 hours. Stand the tamales opening up so that nothing falls out.  Serve hot and top with cheese queso, chili or any other favorite sauce.
You can freeze in ziplock bags for about a year. Longer if you vacuum pack.

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