Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Tamales

For every 2 cups of masa harina (meal), add ½ cup of shortening or lard, 1tsp. of salt, and 1tsp baking powder (optional: enough chili powder to make a pink dough). Add broth mixture a little at a time to masa and mix with your hands to get a smooth, spreadable consistency. If you run out of broth, you can use hot water. (Use about 1:1 ratio with masa) whip till fluffy.

Pinto bean & cheese filling:
Fill crock pot half full with rinsed beans. Add one onion, and 3 cloves of peeled garlic. Fill with chicken broth until 3-4 inches above beans. Cook on high until soft. Blend or mash until smooth.
Optional: mix in enchilada sauce
1/4 c oil
2 T flour
1/4 c chili powder
8 oz tomato sauce 
1 1/2c water
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t garlic powder 
1/4 t onion powder 
Salt to taste 

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour.
  2. Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt into the flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.
Cheese: small slice quest fresco

Green Chili Chicken:

2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 serranos chiles, or more to taste

1 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil

Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and the chiles serrranos in a pot and cover with water. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer at medium for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from a bright to a pale green, are cooked through and are soft but are not coming apart.

Place tomatillos, garlic and chile (you may add one chile first) and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the blender and puree until smooth. Incorporate the cilantro leaves, onion and salt and process again. Taste for salt and add more if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add the other chile in pieces until you reach your desired heat level.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat.

Once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks. However, the heat level of the sauce will diminish as the days go by.



Place in crockpot covered in broth with onion and garlic. Cook till tender. Shred and mix with salsa verde.


Cook meat (pork or beef, or both in separate pots) in a large pot of water (or in a slow-cooker filled with water) with an onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for the day, 4 hours minimum. The more broth you can generate from the meat, the better!

After the meat is cooked (so that it falls apart and shreds easily), remove from pot, set aside to cool, and puree the onion and garlic with the broth. Season broth mixture to taste with chili powder and salt.

Shred meat finely with two forks (you can even chop it after shredding), and store covered in refrigerator separately from broth. (Use broth to make masa)

Season shredded meat with chili powder, salt, and cumin (optional) to taste. As you season the meat, add a small amount of broth to moisten meat, but it should not be runny.

Cream Cheese, bacon, jalapeño

Purée jalapeños, bacon, and cream cheese to taste

This time I did about 4 jalapeños, 8 strips of bacon, and 3 boxes of cream cheese.


Assemble the tamales: spread masa about 1/8 inch thick on corn husk with fingers, leaving about ½ inch border along the sides and 2 inch border along the top and bottom of husk. Use about 2 Tbsp. of shredded meat to fill the tamal (like a cigar). Fold sides until they just overlap, fold narrow end under, and place tamal folded side down. Grandma Salazar tears thin strips of the corn husks to tie a “little belt” around each tamal to keep it secure. Although this isn’t necessary, it does look the nicest and makes each tamal a little gift to be opened.


To cook, steam fresh tamales for 15 minutes or until masa is no longer sticky.


Store in freezer. Steam frozen tamales for 20 minutes. (This is a real treat a few days or a few weeks later. After you’ve recovered, it’s almost like someone else made them for you!).

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