Before I did photography, my husband and I made and sold Mexican tamales. It was a lot of work, but we ended up coming up with the best tamale recipe ever! I am going to share it with you guys today. Just know that making tamales can be an all-day project, depending on how many you make. If you only end up making a few dozen, it will probably take you 3-4 hours with preparation and cooking. Let’s get to it!
Cook the meat. You can use pork, chicken, or steak. We usually use a big pork roast. One of the big roasts at Winco makes 3-5 dozen. I normally cook it in the pressure cooker for 75 minutes.
Make the salsa. These two salsas are for inside the tamales if you are feeling ambitious.
20 guajillo chiles (cleaned out) or Marisol chiles
1 pound tomatillos (about 6-7 tomatillos)
Boil the chilis and tomatillos together until the chiles are soft. About 20 minutes.
Drain all but a little water (like 1/2 C), add chiles and tomatillos to blender. Add 1/2 t. minced garlic, 1 t. cumin, and salt to taste. Blend. This salsa is only for the inside. It gives it an authentic taste. But it’s not good when you dump it on top of the tamale.
1 pound tomatillos
1-6 jalapeños, depending on how spicy you want it (I do like ten haha)
Boil together for 10 minutes.
Drain all but a little water (like 1/2 C), put in blender. Add 1/2 t. minced garlic, salt top taste. Blend.
Salsa for top of tamales:
10 Roma tomatoes
1/2- 1 onion, separated into layers
2-10 Jalapeños, depending on amount of spice desired.
Broil all three vegetables in the oven until the onions are are charred. About 10 minutes.
Add to blender, add 1 T. chicken bullion and 1 t. tomato bullion. Blend together. Add salt to taste.
Soak the husks. Separate the husks and soak them in hot water. Take off all of the little corn hairs. The husks float, so you will have to put something like a pan over top of them so they will stay submerged. They only need to soak for about 20 minutes. They just need to be flimsy enough to not break when bent.
This is prepared right before assembling the tamales. Each batch makes about 15 tamales, so we usually quadruple if for 5 dozen tamales.
Mix the following together:
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. vegetable oil (you can also use lard for more flavor)
1 T. Salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
Mix until well blended, then add 4 c. Masa. Mix. It should end up being the consistency of cookie dough. You might need to add a little more masa or water depending on consistency.
Take a large spoonful of the masa mix and put it on a damp husk. Flatten it out with a spatula. Put it on the bottom 3/4 of the husk (the wider side), and spread it all the way to both sides. Make a line of meat down the middle, add salsa on top of meat, and then roll the tamale up and fold the top part of the husk (the empty part) down. Place it standing up in the tamale pot with the fold at the bottom and the meat and masa sticking out at the top. Make sure there is water in the tamale pot all the way up to the just below the steam rack.
Assemble all tamales. Steam on high in tamale pot for 60-90 minutes, depending on stovetop. Coil stovetops cook a lot quicker than glass stovetops. You will know they are done when you take them out and the dough is firm after about 30 seconds of being out of the pot. Take out of husk and add salsa to the top of the tamale. Enjoy!
Megan Owens | Megan Owens Photography