Anyway, around the holidays, there are always big bags of prepared masa and corn husks on display. It's always got me thinking of making tamales. I know it's a big, time intensive thing so it's great to do when family's around. Well, I don't have family around now, but I just made a batch of carnitas and we were there, so we got masa and corn husks.
I spent some time googling and YouTubing "how to make tamales". Then, I decided to just go for it.
1. Soak corn husks in hot water.
2. Prepare filling. I had carnitas that I shredded. It was in the fridge so that juice and fat were a bit congealed, which turned out to be a good thing - it made the filling juicier and not dry.
I also had some leftover turkey so I mixed that with some salsa verde and even though it's not very authentic, a couple tablespoons of cheddar cheese. Shredded rotisserie chicken would be good too.
3. Spread masa on corn husks (about 1/4" thick). What I read was use the back of a spoon. I tried this but found pressing it out with the heel of my hand worked better. Rolling it into a ball...
then into a fat log...
then pressing it out worked even better.
4. Put a tablespoon of filling in the center, then roll the corn husk from one edge to the other.
Tuck in the sides. You can tie the tamale with a thin strip of the corn husk. From what I read, one side is typically open, so you want to steam that side up. I decided to tuck both sides in and ended up tying both ends. A little more work, but since I don't have a steamer to stand the tamales up, I figured this was a good idea for me.
5. Steam for one hour. Apparently, there are actual vessels out there for tamale steaming. I suppose a pasta pot with strainer type thing would work too. But the closest I have is my big sauce pan and a wire rack from my toaster oven.
I could only fit 7 at a time, but maybe I could fit them on top of each other too? To do list: get a steamer thing.
The result? Probably not the most authentic tamales but pretty tasty. I think the key is the masa, which I bought pre-made. My trouble has been that the masa comes in a 5 pound bag and I can't seem to make enough tamales to use it up. Maybe it's time to have a tamale making party!