i lived in santa fe, new mexico until i was in 4th grade ~ it wasn’t so much a city to me, but an expression ~ an expression of color, cultures, cooking, an expression of sharing all of this with those who were around you ~ my first taste of tamales was in santa fe. during the holidays, the ladies that worked for my parents would share these wrapped, steamy pillows of masa and piquant pork ~ a shared tradition is my expression now. during the holidays, i now make and share tamales with family and friends ~ travis and jaime, this is for you ~
meat for tamales
- 4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken (I use a combo of breast and thighs)
- 1 container of Bueno green or red chile (frozen aisle at the commissary)
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can green chile and tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken broth
place all ingredients in a large stock pot ~ bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 – 4 hours until chicken is tender ~ remove chicken to a cutting board ~ allow to cool slightly; shred chicken with two forks or with your hands, replace back into broth mixture; measure out liquid as needed for masa.
- 3-4 cups Masa Harina
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup shortening (lard, if you want to stick to tradition)
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups hot stock from meat mixture
mix all ingredients with hands until light and fluffy; cool
it is necessary to wash husks very well ~ when cleaned, place in a large casserole and cover with boiling water to soften ~ keep covered with water until ready to assemble tamales.
to assemble: spread about 2 tablespoons of masa mixture down the center of clean, softened corn husk, use hands to spread evenly; place 1 T meat mixture in center, cover with masa; fold edges of corn husks toward the center, bring up the bottom flap to create a little envelope ~ tie off with long strip of corn husk or kitchen string. repeat until finished. place about 3 inches of water in the bottom of tamale pot, place first steam wrack and fill with tamales, repeat with remaining wrack and tamales; steam in pot for about one hour.
note: you can find large tamale steamers at any traditional mexican grocer or online.