Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Tamales

Christmas Tamales are a Mexican tradition that is something I chose to adopt this year.  The Masa carrier of the Tamale is the perfect carrier for my Smoked Pork.  This is a labor intensive process.  Mexican families will spend a week making Tamales, and give them to everyone they know.  We'll start with the Corn husks.
The corn Husks are processed with Sulfur Dioxide to bleach them, and preserve them.  The Corn Husks need to be soaked, to soften them, and then washed to remove the Sulfur Dioxide.  So we'll immerse the Corn husks in water and soak them for 15 minutes of so.
After the soak, we'll rinse each on under running water to remove the preservatives.  My recipe for the tamales came from the Maseca Tamale Doh package.  The Mole' that will be served with the Tamales was inspired by Diana kennedy's book "My Mexico" and Deve Dewitt's book "The Fiery Cuisines".
Next we'll assemble the Tamale Dough.  We'll need 2 cups of Maseca Tamale Doh, two cups of Chicken Broth, one teaspoon of Baking Powder, half a teaspoon of Sea Salt, and two thirds of a cup of Lard, pork fat.
Add all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl, and turn the mixer on low.  Then drizzle in the Chicken Stock.  Let the tamale Doh mix for around 5 minutes to get everything incorporated.
The finished Tamale Doh is softer than a Tortilla Doh, and you'll need a spatula to spread it into the Corn husks.  I set up a rolling station to do the assembly of the Tamales.
For the filling I am using my Smoked Pork Butt, which is good all by itself, but I figured that it would also be great in the tamales.  I'll pull this Butt apart, and dice it up into half inch pieces.
Next is the assembly process.  The directions on the Tamale Doh package say to add two tablespoons of Tamale Doh to each Corn Husk, and spread it in the middle of the husk.
Then we'll add some Porx in the middle there.  Alternatively you could add green Chiles, Chicken, Beef, Taco Fillings, an amazing array of food stuffs are available to fill the Tamales.
Last we roll the Cork Husk around the Tamale and filling and fold the top over to keep it closed.
We'll repeat the process until we have used up all the tamale Doh.  I do have some Porx left over, but that's OK, there are plenty of other things to put the Porx in.  The recipe on the Maseca sack said it would be enough for 16 Tamales, and that is exactly what we wound up with.
Next the Tamales will go into a steamer and cook for one hour.  I have a steamer basket which is supposed to be used for vegetables, but is going to act as a tamale steamer today.  Its important to have enough water in the steamer so that it can go an hour.  If you run out of water during the steaming process you could damage the pot that you are using.  So make sure there is a little more water than you'll need, and monitor the steamer pot while the Tamales are cooking.
After an hour is up pull all of the Tamales out of the steamer, and let them cool for a while.  During the cooling process the Masa will set, and the Tamales will be ready to eat.
The next post will be the Christmas Mole' which is the topping for the Tamales.

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