Hot Tamales

Posted by DmentD | Recipes | Sunday 18 March 2012 10:13 pm

Hot Tamale Filling (makes ~65)
3 LB ground beef
2 8 OZ cans tomato sauce
½ C water
1½ TSP cumin
2 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS onion powder
1 TSP cayenne pepper
1½ TSP black pepper
1 TBS chili powder
1½ TBS salt
4 TBS sugar
½ C corn meal

Mix all of the dry and wet ingredients together. Add the raw meat and mix well. Refrigerate sufficiently until needed.

Hot Tamale Sauce (prepare ahead of time!)
You will need ~3 C of sauce for traditional wrapped tamales, ~4C for tamale balls.

Time provided, it is recommended to use the chili sauce (just the sauce part!) from the following recipe – Chili (Beef), ½ Alarm — Lutz. It is powerfully flavorful, and worth the extra prep time. That recipe will yield ~3¼ C of sauce, so scale accordingly.

For a quicker option, you can use the following recipe:

3 8 OZ cans tomato sauce
1½ TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
3 TBS chili powder
1 TSP cayenne
½ TSP salt
1 TBS sugar
2 C water

Mix ingredients well.

You can either follow the traditional wrapping method outlined further down or you can simply make ‘hot tamale balls’.

Option 1 – Hot Tamale Balls
Corn meal
Greased baking dish or lined sheet pan

Oven: 350°

Roll the meat into balls (~2 TBS each or a ‘T40′ scoop — a standard coffee scoop is also 2 TBS), roll in corn meal, place on a greased dish or on pan, bake for 20 minutes. Place into a pot, cover with sauce and water (approximate ratio of 2 parts sauce to 1 part water), and simmer for an hour.  If possible, allow to rest 30-60 minutes before consuming.

Optionally you can roll the meat into balls, roll in cornmeal and place on a parchment lined pan or dish and freeze. Once frozen the tamale balls can be moved into a Ziplock bag or other tightly covered container until needed. Place on a greased dish or pan and bake for 40 minutes. Place into a pot, cover with sauce and water (approximate ratio of 2 parts sauce to 1 part water), and simmer for an hour.  If possible, allow to rest 30-60 minutes before consuming.

Option 2 – Hot Tamale Wrapping
Corn meal
65+ 5″x5″ sheets of kitchen parchment paper (you can order tamale papers online, but standard kitchen parchment works just fine)

Prepare your work space. You should have the following within reach:

  • A bowl with water to submerge the papers in and allow to soak for a minute or two. This will allow the papers to “relax” to make wrapping easier.
  • A wide, flat bottom cooking pot, deep enough to contain all of the tamales and be able to just cover them with liquid.
  • A shallow baking or casserole dish (2″-3″ deep) to dredge the tamales before wrapping. Fill ¼ of the way with corn meal, add a pinch of salt and pepper and combine.
  • A plate or other flat surface to roll the tamales on.

Take one sheet of paper from the water bowl and place it on your rolling surface. Scoop slightly more than 2 TBS of the filling from the bowl (a slightly rounded coffee scoop) and form it into a tube ~3½” long. Roll it in the corn meal dredge then place it on the paper, the top end of the tamale lined up with the top edge of the paper (you will be leaving one end of the tamale open to allow the sauce to enter). Fold the bottom edge of the paper over the bottom end of the tamale. Roll the tamale firmly, eliminating as much air as possible (which will cause the tamale to float), but without squeezing it out of the paper. Place it in the pot on its side (not standing up!). Build a layer of tamales a row at a time in the pot, placing the next layer at a cross angle to the one below.

Note: It is advisable to devise a way to place something over the tamales that would prevent them from floating, but still allow you to cover the pot — I have used a flattened pie tin with a shallow glass bowl on top of it.

Gently pour your tamale sauce over the tamales, and add water to cover the tamales ~½” (approximate ratio of 2 parts sauce to 1 part water) . Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 1½ hours. If possible, allow to rest 30-60 minutes before consuming.

This recipe scales up nicely. The tamales freeze well, especially when frozen in the tamale sauce.


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