The recipe from the challenge can be found here There were lots and lots of options, which is good for me. The recipe as written says it makes 24 tamales. I made half a recipe and got more then that, and my masa layer was thicker then I liked so I could probably have gotten twice what I did.
6 cups of masa harina flour
5 cups of water or veggie stock (For my stock I boiled some onion, garlic and a dried pepper in some water.)
1/2 tbsp. of salt
1.5 cups of vegetable shortening
1/2 tbsp. of baking powder
24 dried corn husks
Water to soak the husks
1. Warm the stock. Combine the masa harina flour with the salt and baking powder. Stir the vegetable shortening rapidly until it is creamy.
2. Pour the stock into the masa mix and stir until it is thoroughly combined. Beat the moist masa mix into the shortening until you have a paste that will spread with a knife without breaking apart. You should end up with a semi-thick paste. If you do not have this, you can add more stock in ¼ cup amounts to the mix until you have the right consistency.
3. To check the consistency, spread the masa on a corn husk and if it spreads easily while staying together, you have the right consistency.
4. Soak the corn husks for at least 2 minutes. (Some husks may still have the silks in them, make sure you remove them before using)
5. Spread masa paste over the top half of a corn husk (the top half is the wide half.) Spoon a line of your filling of choice in a line on one side of the masa paste. Roll the tamale from the filling side to the other side. You will end up with one half of the roll that has masa paste and one that does not. Fold the half that does not have the masa paste against the tamale, folding it in towards the flap of the roll.
6. Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients.
7. Steam the tamales for 45 minutes. If you have a lot of tamales and a tall steamer, you can place the tamales vertically in the steamer.
I choose to do the Black Bean Chipotle filling for my official tamales and two others for some variation.
Black Bean Chipotle Tamale Filling:
16 oz. of black beans, rinsed
½ cup of shredded carrot
½ of a red onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. of chipotle powder
1 tsp. of whole cumin seeds
2 tsp. of whole coriander seeds
½ tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of olive oil
1. Shred the carrot. Mince the onion and garlic. Rinse the beans. Combine all of these together in a bowl.
2. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds on a medium heat in the 1 tsp. of oil until the coriander seeds start to pop or the cumin seeds turn a deep brown color, whichever comes first.
3. Mix the chipotle powder, New Mexico chile powder, cumin, coriander, and salt together. Toss this into the veggie mix.
Filling two was BBQ pork a friend had made that while excellent in texture was to spicy for me to enjoy, so I added some taco seasoning and it was excellent. Filling three was left over smoked sirloin and corn from the Texas Land and Cattle steak house, sauteed with a little peppers and onions, It was a little mild and I really should have used more meat.
And since tamales with out sauce is a very dry thing indeed I made a chipotle sour cream sauce to go with it.
Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce:
1 container sour creameasy and good.
Chipotle Salsa to taste
stir over low heat until bubbly.
Very very good, and much easier then I had expected. Left overs freeze well and are a cinch to heat up. I liked the fact I could make good fillings with leftovers and stuff from the freezer. Next time I need to make my masa layer much thinner and remember if I cram a bunch of tamales in one steamer it will take longer to cook. I am looking forward to doing this again, maybe next time I will make some sweet tamales I am thinking pineapple and bananas.
I told her I was making tamales, I got a ok, later she wandered by and commented that it smelled like 'real' tamales. I am not sure what she thought I was making but it apparently wasn't real tamales. The end result passed the Indra test and has been invited to make a reappearance. That and all the bragging she has been doing makes me think she liked them.
(unfortunately I was having a bad camera week and so only got the one picture.)