Well, this is embarrassing. It seems that all of the lovely chatter that normally constitutes the video introduction was somehow lost to the netherworlds of technology. It’s probably hanging out down there somewhere with old friends Betamax and Calculator Wristwatch.
So this episode starts out kind of abruptly and for that, I apologize, but there is really nothing I can do about it, short of a Christmas Miracle. I will try to give you the gist of it here, though.
I’m pretty sure I said something about how, in Texas, tamales are a Christmas Eve tradition. Probably blabbed on about how tamales are really much easier than people make them out to be. Then I might have talked a little bit of shit about recipes I’ve seen for tamales that use cornmeal or eggs or other inappropriate ingredients in the masa. There may or may not have been a cry of Feliz Navidad towards the end. I can’t really remember. Too many eggnogs have been had between then and now.
Or…I don’t know — do you think 24 eggnogs in 24 hours is too many?
For the masa
- For the Masa:
- 2 cups instant corn masa flour
- 1½-2 cups warm water or broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil (softened), lard, shortening, or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- For the Tamales:
- 20-24 dried cornhusks, rehydrated in boiling water for 20 minutes
- 2 cups of your filling of choice (see options below)
- Make the masa: In a mixing bowl, beat the fat component on high speed to whip it up (skip this if using liquid vegetable oil).
- Add the masa flour and about a cup of the water. Add another ½ – 1 cup water to make a soft, moist dough. Add the salt and chili powder.
- Assemble: Pull out a cornhusk and lay it down, smoothest side up, and the pointier end towards you.
- Put about 2 tablespoons masa dough on the husk and pat it out very thin. Put about 2 tablespooons filling in a line down the middle of the masa. Roll it up, using the husk to form it into a little log. Fold over one side of the husk, then fold the bottom up and roll over the rest of the husk. Tie it closed with a thin strip of another husk if you like. It does look cute that way.
- Roll up a bunch more tamales that way. You’ll get about 16 tamales from this recipe.
- To cook: Set up a steamer basket in a large pot.
- Lay some husks over the bottom of the steamer, sit the tamales upright in the pot, cover with another layer of husks. Put a tight lid on it.
- Steam for about and hour and a half, adding water if necessary.
Filling ideas: Make sure to taste the filling before making tamales. It should be well-seasoned because the masa itself is very mildly flavored.
- Pork Filling
- 2 c cooked, shredded pork roast (you could also use chicken here)
- 1 ancho chile, soaked in boiling water 5 minutes, stem removed
- 2 c water
- 1 t oregano
- ½ t ground cumin
- ½ t salt
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 T garlic
- Put the ancho chile, water, and spices in a blender and whizz around until smooth. Put in a small pot with the shredded pork and simmer about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed or evaporated. Taste for salt and spice.
- Vegan Bean Filling
- 1 c cooked pinto or black beans
- 1 c corn
- ½ c diced tomato
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 T oil
- 1 t oregano
- Salt to taste (depends on your beans)
- Drain liquid from beans and saute with corn, tomato, and jalapeno in the oil for five minutes, mashing the beans slightly.
- Add oregano and salt to your liking.
- 1 poblano chile, diced
- 2 T oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 c diced and steamed (or roasted) sweet potato
- salt to taste
- Saute the pepper in the oil until soft and blackened in spots.
- Add the garlic and sweet potatoes and saute another minute. Salt to taste.
These are AMAZING if served covered in queso, like we do.
The LEARN TO COOK Book is Here!
By popular demand, Learn to Cook is now available in print! Over 300 pages of knowledge between two soft covers.
Learn To Cook is designed to get you cooking for yourself like a civilized human being! Drawing from a lifetime of cooking and over two years experience making instructional cooking videos, author Hilah Johnson has produced a beginners’ cookbook for today’s young adults. The casual, straightforward style will appeal to anyone with a sense of humor and the focus on fresh, simple recipes will appeal to anyone who loves to eat. The book includes chapters on menu planning, knife skills, grocery shopping and more, plus a comprehensive spice chart and over 150 recipes from breakfast to dinner to snacks in between.