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The Art of Making Tamales

What a wonderful tradition

By Maria Reyna
Published on LatinoLA: December 9, 2008

The Art of Making Tamales

It's that time of year
Los ricos tamales that we Latinos are so fond and proud of
I don' t make tamales every year ... but this year I decided to make some tamales for my family and dear friends.
The house is so warm and it smells so good in the kitchen.
Such a wonderful tradition; a tradition that goes way back to our ancestors.

I can remember my mom making tamales on Christmas Eve; she would spend all day in the kitchen preparing the spices and meat.
What a wonderful feeling to make something that your family is going to appreciate and enjoy.
She took so much pride and joy in making tamales at Christmas. She would prepare everything herself, from scratch, then around 3 pm she would round all of us to help her spread the masa for her as she added the meat and folded the tamales. She had a special pot just for the occasion, a big steel pot.

She would stack them up just right for cooking, and she would not leave the kitchen till they were done.

Just in time for dinner right around seven or eight pm.

And she didn't make just enough for dinner, she made at least 15 dozen enough to share with anyone who came over and the rest she would freeze to last us a couple of months after Christmas.

They were absolutely the best tamales I have ever tasted.

The art of making tamales:

This is a recipe that anyone can follow
This will make up to 80 tamales
Ingredients; Seven pounds of beef ÔÇôround rump roast boneless
2 onions
Garlic 8 cloves
Salt, pepper, paprika ÔÇôadd to taste

Roast onions, garlic, add about 96 oz of water bring to a boil
Add cut up beef to water
Cut meat into big chunks, cook 1 ?¢ to 2 hours
Once cooked shred the beef.
Red chili sauce-new Mexico Chile pods or Guajillo chili pods come in package of 3 oz
De-stem and de-seed the chili pods-use some of the meat broth to boil chili pods. Cook for about 20 min. in broth, blend the broth and chili pods.
Boil again and add shredded beef add seasonings, boil beef in chili sauce for 5 min
Meat is ready.
Corn husk-wash separate and soak corn husk in hot water bout 3 packages. For about an hour. Drain the water before using.
Masa-9 pounds prepared masa-you can add some of the chili from the meat if you wish.
Spread masa onto corn husk, not to thick not to thin, add some meat in the center of the corn husk
Fold over one side then the other, bottom half fold up
Stack up in a large pot place a steamer or metal strainer in the center of the pot. Add water about 64 ounces to pot
Steam Cook four to five hours, add water as needed
Chicken can be substituted for beef.
Total cost: about 30 dollars

Everybody have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy those tamales

About Maria Reyna:
Varied artist-painter, poet
Author's website
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