Homemade Tamales

What? It’s Cinco De Mayo tommorow? And then Mother’s Day? Yikes, I really need to get with it! : )
I’ve had this recipe waiting to be shared for some time now, and I guess Cinco De Mayo is a good time to share it.  If you’ve never had fresh homemade tamales, you have never had tamales my friend.  They are a big favorite around here, especially when my oldest sister comes over with her family.  I think her husband has a tamale addiction.
Since they do take some time, I like to make a double or sometimes triple batch when I make them.  The day before I’ll cook and shred the meat for the filling, and when I cook them I get 2 big pots going at the same time.  They freeze amazingly well, and no matter how many I make my husband always eyes me a little funny when I give any away. : )
I base my recipe off the one printed on the bag of the MaSeCa I buy, it has never failed me.  And while you can use shortening, I strongly suggest using a good quality lard.  Yes, lard.  It’s the one time I use it.  I have tried it with shortening, and it just doesn’t work the same.  The flavor will be artificial, waxy, and just not right.   And have fun with the fillings, we just really prefer the plain shredded beef.
It freezes great and I’d rather have the filling more plain since we serve them with fresh salsa.  Yum!
8 cups MaSeCa for Tamales
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
8 cups lukewarm chicken broth (or water)
2 2/3 cups lard (or vegetable shortening
8 oz bag dried corn husks
Filling (I used shredded beef for these)*
Soak corn husks for about 15-25 minutes submerged in warm water (you may need to weigh them down to stay under the water with a plate)
While husks are soaking, make masa.  Combine MaSeCa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Work in chicken broth with hands to make a moist dough.
Add lard, mix well.
Seperate husks and rinse well.
Spread masa dough (about 1/4 cup) on each husk making a rectangle about 3″ by 4″, butted up against one edge and leaving a border on other sides, as shown.
Spread a strip of filling down middle of masa.
Roll the long edge of the husk so that the masa meats, encasing the filling.
Finish rolling long side
Then either tear some husks into little strips and tie the ends:
or fold ends under and wrap in a piece of foil:
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a heavy simmer.
Stand tamales up in a colander or steamer basket and place over pot.
(water should not touch the steamer basket).
Cover with a wet cloth and steam for about 2 hours.
To freeze, put foil-wrapped pre-steamed tamales in ziplocks.
*Filling ideas: We like the basic shredded roast since we serve it with salsa and such and it freezes so well, but I’ve also had good outcome with shredded pork, shredded chicken with cheese, etc.
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