Friday, December 4, 2015

Easy Texas Tamales From Scratch


 Tamales are actually a Native American tradition for the holiday's stemming from the Mexican people.

In Texas we call Mexican dishes Tex-Mex. I like to try to make them as traditional as possible.

It is quite easier to do these days with the Masa that is available.

All you have to do is add your broth and choice of oil, butter or lard.

Butter is very good as long as it is organic and unsalted. My favorite is part butter and part olive oil.

Some healthier choices might be organic canola or organic corn oil, but it is very hard to find it non-gmo.. 


You will of course need corn husks to make traditional tamales.

We are harvesting our first crop of Native American dent corn and saving those organic corn husks for the task.

This variety of corn made very pretty husks with pink stripes in them.

I use my big canning pot for soaking the husks in water with just a tiny tad of vinegar for cleaning. They really didn't need the vinegar, but if you buy yours from the store, you won't want to skip using it.

By soaking the dried husks it makes them soft and pliable for putting in the filling. They need to soak for at least an hour for best results.

I start my meat the night before in the crockpot. I did pork in one crock and chicken in the other this time.

I chose a pork ribeye roast, not real big and some chicken breasts for the other one.
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I make plenty of broth in the crockpot as well because you need it for the Masa.

This is a great time to use some of those spectacular herbs and veggies from the garden.

Cinnamon is a key secret ingredient in tamales. I use some ground cinnamon as well as add the flower heads from my cinnamon basil.

The flowers of most herbs are really the essence of the herb when they are fresh from the garden.

I grow lot's of Mexican Oregano. I think it is the sweetest variety of oregano! This is great in the tamales.

Ingredients
Corn Husks
Pork Ribeye Roast or Chicken Breasts
Broth made from roast or chicken
4.4 lb. Bag Masa
Ground Cinnamon
Cinnamon Basil (if available)
Mexican Oregano
Thyme
Chile Powder
Fresh Minced Garlic
Garlic Powder
Minced Onions
Celery Seed
Cumin
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
A Carrot and a Parsnip
Organic Canola or Corn Oil
The herbs and spices in this recipe are according to taste.



  1. Instructions
  2. 1.  I use my big canning pot for soaking the corn husks in water with just a tiny tad of vinegar for cleaning. They really didn't need the vinegar, but old habits die hard sometimes. By soaking the dried husks it makes them soft and pliable for putting in the filling. They need to soak for at least an hour for best results.

  3. 2. I start my meat the night before in my crockpot before we plan to make them. I did pork in one and chicken in the other this time. I chose a pork ribeye roast, not real big and some chicken breasts for the other one. .

  4. 3. I make plenty of broth in the crockpot as well because you need it for the Masa. This is a great time to use some of those spectacular herbs and veggies from the garden. Cinnamon is a key secret ingredient in tamales. I use some ground cinnamon as well as add the flower heads from my cinnamon basil. The flowers of most herbs are really the essence of the herb when they are fresh from the garden. Mexican Oregano and Thyme are also very delicious in the broth. You will also need Chile Powder, fresh minced garlic, minced onions, celery seed and a good pinch of cumin powder A dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper is always important. I also chop up some carrots and a small amount of parsnips to give the broth a deeper flavor. By morning the meat is so tender and easily shreds for the filling.

  5. 4. Masa usually comes in 4.4 lb. bags. I start by using half a bag in my mixing bowl. I mince cinnamon basil, garlic powder, sea salt, cinnamon and chili powder to taste and whisk it together. I use 1 cup of oil per half bag. Drain your broth from your meat and set the meat aside. Start by adding 1 cup of broth at a time.With the paddle turn the mixer on low. I want the masa to get wet enough that you can squeeze it in your hand and it feels moist, not crumbly and not soggy.

  6. 5. Keep adding broth little by little until you get the desired consistency.

  7. 6. I take a corn husk out of the canner and gently shake off the water. Lay it on a board and get a fair size ball of the Masa in your hand. About the size of a golf ball is good. Place it in the corn husk and spread it by pressing with your finger tips until it is about a quarter inch thick. You want to make it easy to roll and wrap so keep it away from the pointed end of the husk at least a quarter of the way down.Also keep the Masa away from the sides by at least 1/2 inch on both sides. Next take your shredded meat and put a small amount down the center of the masa. Now I fold the entire thing in half length wise and roll it from the folded end. Then take the pointed tip of the husk and fold it down. The wide part of the husk will be open a small bit.
  8. 7. Set each one on a sheet of wax paper or a large cookie sheet until you have them all done. 

  9. 8. I use a big ole pasta pot for steaming the tamales. Place them in the strainer pointed side down. You need to stack them in rather tightly so they don't fall over.

  10. 9. Put a small amount of water in the pot and set the strainer in it. You need enough water to bring to a boil, but not coming up into the strainer.

  11. 10. Bring it to a boiling steam and then turn it down immediately to med. to med. low and keep it at a gentle steam. Take the lid off and place a clean cotton towel over the tamales and put the lid back on. This will help keep them from drying out.

  12. They will take about 2 hours to be finished. Make some of your favorite chili sauce to put on top.

Happy Gardening!
Pammy.

5 comments:

  1. You make it sound so easy. I love tamales so I'm gonna give it a try.

    Take good care,

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Karen, for some reason the cooking times at the end of the post had clicked off and I just put it back in. Have fun!! They are delicious! xxooxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Did you get a chance to try some Texan?

      Delete