Devin here! So Katie challenged me to do a recipe that I have always wanted to try, so here is my attempt on tamales. Not knowing what I was getting myself in for, I watched several videos and read several different recipes on how to make tamales. I used Alton Brown’s recipe for a cornmeal base and cook time, but I wanted to create several different filling options. I decided to make three different options for everyone to try; Carnitas, Chipotle Chicken, and Mexican Cheese.
Two items you want to make sure you have before you start is a steam basket and a pot deep enough for the tamales to lay upright with the opened end up. Otherwise, if you are like me and don’t have a pot deep enough you can stack the tamales on each other, but it might make a little bit of a mess with some of the masa and cheese. In the future, I will definitely try this again, but with Katie’s supervision. Having help would have made the tamales a little bit more unison and probably a little prettier.
Tamale Cornmeal Ingredients
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
For the Chicken Filling:
Marinate the chicken with the chipotle peppers for at least an hour. Pour the chicken and the chipotle peppers a pot and simmer on medium high for about 15-20 minutes or when the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165. Take the chicken out of the pot and sauce and shred with two forks.
For the dough:
Place the cornmeal, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and combine. Add the lard and using your hands, knead together until the lard is well incorporated into the dry mixture. Gradually add enough of the reserved cooking liquid, 3 to 4 cups to create a dough that is like thick mashed potatoes. The dough should be moist but not wet. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set aside until ready to use.
Making the Tamales:
Place the corn husks in a bowl full of warm water and allow to soften up, about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how many you are intending on making. Once the corn husks are pliable its time to form the tamales.
To assemble each tamale, spread 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk (each husk should be 8 inches long and 6 inches wide at the top. If husks are small, overlap 2 small ones to form one. If it is large, tear a strip from the side).
Place about a tablespoon of filling (carnitas, chicken, cheese or any other filling you can think of) in the center of the masa. Fold in sides of husk and fold up the bottom. Place the tamales in a steam pot open end up and steam for one hour.
Remove tamales from husks enjoy with your favorite toppings.