2 years ago
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I think I've shared that I don't have much of a calling to cook Mexican food. (remember?) I have a great calling to eat it though and it's yet another reminder to be so thankful for my spouse. As is tradition for many Mexican families, in the yellow house tamales are a Christmas tradition. Time got away this year and our tamales didn't arrive until a few weeks ago but they were fabulous and even better than last year.
Before he's tried to make them start to finish in one weekend. This year he approached it differently, and broke the process down - meat one weekend and assembly the next. Much better.
Tamales are little packets of meat or vegetable surrounded by masa harina then wrapped in corn husk to steam. Masa, a bit of water and lard mixed together to form a soft dough. Let's not dwell on the lard.
Through trial and error, Doug's learned to tweak the dough until it feels right. The recipes tend to be a bit stiff and dry and a softer dough makes the wrapping easier and creates a more tender end result.
Ironically, the most expensive part of this project seems to be the corn husks. At the corner store a package runs about 5 bucks which seems absurd. My guess is they might be a bit less costly at a Mexican market.
Soaking corn husks, slow cooked shredded pork and corn dough ready to go.
A layer of corn dough goes onto the husk first. Ladies with many, many tamales under their belt seems to slap these together with a flick of the wrist. Doug's still working on his technique and it's getting smoother with every batch.
Meat goes on next. He likes to use a nice amount of meat since sometimes they can be a bit skimpy. That can be disappointing.
Sides folded in and top up. Traditionally, they are tied with a small strip of husk. This time around Doug skipped it. They look really nice tied up but it takes a lot of time. He's streamlined my contribution right out of the process!
The steaming of the tamales takes 2 hours. We use our pasta pentola, since the extra deep strainer allows many tamales to be set in vertically. Far more efficient than a vegetable steaming basket.
They are especially delicious and they go quickly once they're done. Some are eaten, some are frozen and many are given away. This last week, lots were shared at an employee meal in Doug's plant. The best compliment of all was from the Mexican ladies claiming they were amongst the best they've had. I believe them.
Even if Lupe has a huge crush on my husband.