Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Tamale Time 2006 Edicion Numero Tres
I had hoped to have good news by the time we finished our Tamale Time stories. Unfortunately, the package that was shipped to Monica never arrived. Somewhere between California and Hawaii, there's a soggy box of defrosted tamales, probably stinking to high heaven. Now I have to deal with the carrier. I hope to remain a lady at all times when I talk to these philistines tomorrow. Sorry, baby girl!
The small photo above is the old pyrex bowl filled with the prepped meat combination of pork butt and chuck roast, just taken out of the frige. Next to it is the chile colorado, both a jar of canned and a container of the fresh sauce from my Monterey Park connection. We were hard at work by this time, whipping up the masa, nearly killing the motor of my KitchenAid mixer, testing "will it float?" and checking the seasoning. We finally determined that since it had a good flavor, and our little test tamal separated just fine from the hoja, the masa was ready. We all looked at each other after tasting that little tamal---these are gonna be good!
The hojas (dried corn husks) were soaked in the sink with warm water. I was amazed how clean and sturdy they were. Nana Della always said that if the Christmas hojas were good, it was going to be a good year. Works for me, I love superstitions and old wives tales. Tamale Time 2006 was full on!
Cousin Nicky mixed the meat and chile sauce. I spread the masa, choosing only the best hojas. They were large enough, so you didn't have to piece any together. That comes later, when you start to run out. I spread out the masa only about half way up the hoja, right to the top edge, not too thick and not too thin. Hand off the hoja to my cousin. Then Nicky filled the tamal with the meat mixture, making these tamales more meat than masa. The meat goes in the center, fold over the sides, then turn up the "tail" and you're tamal is done. There's a great instruction sheet on Rick Bayless' Frontera grill site. Now at this point some gente like to tie the tamal. For my family, it just gets in the way of good eatin', having to untie a tamal. Soon the foil roasting pan was filling up with these gorgeous tamales, all ready to be steamed. PS---muchas gracias to theFrog for the camera!
(To be continued...)