Earlier this year, Mama and I met up with some other ladies from church. We do this on occasion to learn to make some new, tasty treats. This time we were creating something Mama and I adore. Tamales are some of our favorite things. Both she and I grew up in San Antonio and to say we are tamale snobs is a HUGE understatement. We have wanted to learn to make tamales forevah. Finally, we were going to actually do it... Sweet!
If you are going to make tamales, you're going to need to do a little prep. And by a little prep, I mean a lot. First you have to soak the corn husks to make them pliable. You will need boiling water and something to hold them down. It takes a bit of time but the 'males need jackets.
Your other assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to make the filling(s). Here is where you can be creative. For our group session we had several things we all found on the net: venison, beef, pork, chicken, beans, and some sweet version that involved raisins. I despise raisins and I think someone ruined a perfectly good tamale, but that's another story.
After the husks are soaking and the fillings are doing whatever it is they do until it becomes an edible work of art, you need to mix the masa. The recipe for that is on the bags of masa harina. You can find that in either the Hispanic aisle or near the flour in your local grocery. This will be thick and will need to be kept moist while you work. This is why making tamales is generally a group activity. It takes many hands.
Once everything is in order, assembly begins. Each of us had our own cookie sheet so we did not make quite as bad a mess. You take a corn husk (or what Mama and I call tamale shucks) and smear a good layer of the masa on it.
Then you add the filling of your choice. Not too much, not too little, just the right amount.
I am so upset I did not get a photo of the rolling process. It is a tad tricky but once you get it going you get into a rhythm. When you have them filled and rolled, tie them off with a bit of kitchen twine. We cut strips so we could keep on keeping on...
We made oodles and oodles of them. Some of each flavor (with the exception of the dreaded raisins).
Here is my beautifull Mama with one of the 5 or 6 bags full of tamales we left with... Yum!
Now onto the cooking process... To cook these little bundles of happiness, you need to steam them. Do not double stack them. Instead try standing them up like delicious little soldiers. Allow them to steam for a couple of hours.
Mine were not the prettiest; however, what they lack in looks they make up for in flavor.
Dinner is served!!