Tamales during the holidays is a tradition for many. My dear friend Katie and I used to have tamales on New Years Eve or New Years Day, back when she lived in New York and I used to visit several times a year!
Making tamales is not difficult, just time consuming. Much of the time is in waiting – soaking the husks (about 1 1/2 hours) and steaming the tamales (about 45 minutes). I complete the prep work while the husks soak.
Also, with traditional tamales, another large amount of time is spent on cooking the filling – usually pork. Since I like vegetarian tamales, this cuts down much of my prep time. I did make some chicken tamales for Jason, using chicken we brought home from dinner with my parents.
Prepare the husks.
Soak for 2 hours in warm water. I place them in a container with a lid, water filled to the very top, as the husks float. I have also used a large bowl with something to weigh them down.
Prepare the masa. This recipe makes 16 – 18 tamales.
Combine dry ingredients. Add oil, mix with hands (the fun part!).
Add broth one cup at a time, mixing with hands until it reaches spreadable consistency – like peanut butter.
Shred the chicken with green chiles. Grate monterey jack cheese (Tillamook is preferred in this house!). Bowls of black beans and green chiles, bottles of hot sauces.
Pat corn husk dry. Spread masa on corn husk as so:
Leave room at thinner end to fold over. Place filling down middle.
Cheese + Sailors Swagger:
Cheese + green chile:
We also made chicken + chile, black bean + cheese + chile.
Fold sides of husk so masa meets and forms in the middle.
Fold thin end up.
Place in steamer, standing up on folded end.
Add water to pot, just under steam basket so water is not touching tamales. Bring water to boil, then reduce heat to medium/low. Check water level often, adding hot water as needed to keep from running dry. Steam for 40 – 50 minutes – check a tamale – masa should be firm. Continue to steam, checking every 10 minutes, if not firm.
Using tongs, place tamales on a paper towel before transferring to a serving platter.
Enjoy! Tamales are best fresh from steaming. Excellent as an appetizer, or serve as an entree with salad, beans, rice and hot sauces.
Have you ever made tamales?
Do you have New Years traditions?