A good tamale might be my favorite food. Not those nasty chewy thick lard ladden things you get as part of a combo plate at your local Mexican restaurant. Not the high-calorie frozen kind either.

There has to be the perfect ratio masa to filling, the masa needs to be flavorful but not greasy.

I’m picky, but stupid, I’ll order the tamale/bean/rice combo at a mexican restaurant every time, hoping for a really good tamale, I am very often dissapointed.

Growing up in rural Eastern Washington, we often met ace tamale makers,their wonderful recipes yielded spicy, smooth tamales with a perfect ratio of meat to masa, that is my gold standard.

One of my favorite wedding gifts was this thing

It’s a larger steamer/pressure cooker/stainless-steel pot of awesomeness. When Matt and I opened it up it went something like this . . .

Matt – “Um . . . what is this?”

Laura – (after a brief gasp) “IT’S A TAMALE MAKER”

I had never made tamales, and I really didn’t know how they were made, I never dreamed of making them, but this kitchen contraption inspired me so I did some searches on the internet.

Many of the recipes I found called for lard (EW! I’m not convinced lard is as bad for you as it’s touted to be, but I really didn’t want to cook with it).

I fumbled around, a few rounds of hit and miss and I came up with a recipe that I could be proud of. I made a sack of them for my Dad for Christmas and my Grandma for her 80th birthday.

I’ve played around with chicken and pork, haven’t tried beef, going to try vegan/veggie/breakfast tamales once school is over.

I’ll show you the pics, then give you the recipe, how’s that?

Laura’s Basic Tamale Recipe

5lbs lean Pork Roast

2 cans Enchilada Sauce

Tapitio Sauce to taste

Cut Pork roast into 1 lb pieces, place in slow cooker on low for at least 12 hours (overnight works well) cover with enchilada sauce. After it has been cooked, remove fat and shred with a fork, add a little (1 cup) of the enchilada sauce to shredded pork for flavor.

8 cups of masa mix

1 quart chicken broth

2 cups canola oil

4 tsp salt

4 tsp cumin

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

3 tsp ground pepper

I like to heat up chicken stock a little, it makes mixing a lot easier. Mix masa, oil, chicken broth and spices together well (feel free to add a little more water or chicken broth for consistency.

Take a soaked corn husk and spread some masa on it evenly, place 2 TBs of meat in center, bring up both sides of masa to cover the meat press gently to seal it, fold corn husks around tamale tightly, repeat 50 times (approx). Place upright in tamale steamer, make sure there is ample water in the steamer (and check water levels OFTEN!), PLACE LID ON entirely, steam on high heat for 2 hours (1 hour 45 minutes). Be careful, I get a steam burn almost every time I make them, because I’m not paying attention.

Enjoy! Matt and I add a lot of hot sauce to the meat, so they are very spicy, pretty much emptying a bottle of valentina hot sauce into the shredded meat. So good, eat right out of steamer or refrigerate and heat up later. They also freeze very well.


2 Comments on “Tamales”

  1. […] my stomach turn. If you’ve read my rants and ravings on this blog long enough, especially my tamale post, you know I have a complicated relationship with lard. It’s yucky animal fat, […]

  2. […] been freezing Matt work lunches since last fall, I started with Tamales, freezing 2-3 of them in their husks wrapped in foil. I then made Burritos. He has a microwave at […]

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