Beef Hot Tamales
Tamales are a lot of work, but the end results are reward enough. Often they are made with a variety of meats and vegetables. Although savory tamales are the most popular in America, in Mexico they also serve sweet tamales usually with a fruit filling. Tamales are a festive food and are served proudly for the holidays and special occasions in many Mexican homes.
2 pounds lean, boneless beef*
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons beef base
1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles
4 large loves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 to 3 tablespoons ground red chili pepper
1 tablespoon ground chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 dozen corn husks
1 1/2 cups lard**
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups masa harina
2 2/3 cup warm water
- For Filling: In a large saucepan, cook meat in water until tender. Cool slightly and shred.
- In large skillet heat oil until hot, add shredded beef and brown. Add the remaining ingredients in the order given. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- For Tamale Dough: Soak corn husks in hot water for 30 minutes to make pliable.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the lard and salt until fluffy.
- Dissolve masa harina in warm water and add to lard mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are combined.
- To Assemble Tamales: Spread a thin coating of tamale dough over the broadest part of the husk, allowing for turning down. For a good-sized tamale, spread the dough over an area approximately 3-inches wide and 3 1/2-inches long.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of filling down center of the dough.
- Fold the sides of the husk firmly together.
- Turn up one or both ends of the husk, or tie string around both ends.
- If turning up both ends, tear some of the husks lengthwise in narrow strips and use for tying each tamale across the top flap.
- To Cook Tamales: Cook tamales in a conventional steamer or blancher. Fill the bottom of the steamer up to the level indicated and bring to a boil. Place a coin in the water. When the water is boiling, it will jingle; when the steamer is dry, there will be no jingle and you will know it is time to add more water.
- Line the steamer with corn husks, covering the bottom and sides. Stack the tamales upright, if flapped, or lay down if tied at both ends. For best results, pack the tamales firmly but not too tightly, because the husks swell as the dough cooks. Cover the tamales with more husks and the top of the steamer with a thick cloth to absorb the moisture.
- Cover with a tight fitting lid. Steam for about 2 1/2 hours.
- To test the tamales for doneness, remove one from center of the steamer. The dough should come away easily from the husks and be completely smooth. To make doubly sure, open up the tamale and see if it is spongy and well cooked throughout.
Makes 2 dozen tamales.
*May substitute with pork or chicken.
**May substitute with vegetable shortening, however, you will not achieve an authentic taste.