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Recipe - Tamales


12 lbs masa
2 large pork roasts (about 6 lbs each)
1 large beef rump roast
3 pkg corn husks
20 to 25 California whole chile pods
20 to 25 New Mexico whole chile pods
10 to 12 pasilla whole chile pods
2 tbsp. cumin
salt to taste


Trim fat off the roasts. Rinse meat clean in sink. Submerge meat
in water in boiling pot, and cook over medium heat for about 4
hours or until tender. (Each roast should need its own pot. Cook
them all at the same time. Do not salt the water.) Scoop off dried
blood as it cooks. When meat has completely cooled, remove bone
and fat (save the cooked fat in its own bowl) and shred remaining
meat. Place shredded meat in bowl. Save all of the broth!
Refrigerate everything overnight.

Cut off stemmed end of all chile pods and discard. Cut chile pod
open lengthwise with knife. Discard seeds.

Separate each corn husk, cleaning them out of the cornsilk and
dust. Discard cornsilk and dust. Separate large husks and small
husks and place in separate ziploc bags.

Grind chile pods in blender with pork and/or beef broth. Puree it
into a liquid, ensuring that it is not too liquid. It should be
the consistency of a thick paste-liquid. Pass this thick paste-liquid
chile through a very fine metal sieve, and into a large bowl.

Put the cooked pork or beef fat into a large saucepan and melt down
over medium heat. Add about 1 cup of the thick chile sauce and
mix. Add about 1/3 of the cooked, shredded meat. Add 1/2 cup of
beef or pork broth. Add salt to taste and 2 tsp of cumin. Add
about 3 cups more of the broth, and mix. Thicken sauce with 2 cups
of water mixed with 2 tbsp. corn starch. Repeat with remaining
meat. Season to taste. Cook over medium heat for half an hour.

Soak corn husks in water, making sure they are submerged. After
1 hour, place wet corn husks in a strainer over a plate. Put a
slab of the masa on a large plate. Take one corn husk, placing
rough, lined side down on the plate. The smoother side will be
facing you. Make sure small pointy end of husk is pointed toward
you. With large spoon, put a heaping slab of the masa on your corn
husk. Spread the masa over the husk, making sure you only spread
it over the wide, bottom 2/3 of the husk. This will leave the
pointy, 1/3 top end clean of the masa. The masa should be smooth
and easy to spread. Take great care not to let the husk split or
tear. If it does,its okay, just don't let it split down too far.
Don't spread the masa too thick or too thin. Make sure you spread
it in wide, even strokes over the husk. It should look relatively
smooth on the husk, not thick and gloppy and uneven. If you can
see the husk through the layer of masa, its too thin. If the husk
is a bit heavy when you lift it, its too thick.

Place a heaping tablespoon of your meat sauce in the center of the
masa on your corn husk. Fold one edge of the husk over the sauce,
then fold the other husk over that, like a burrito. Then fold the
clean, pointy end over the burrito, and place fold-side down in a
Ziploc bag. Repeat until you have run out of masa.

Put a round, metal wire grill at the bottom of a very large pot.
Place water at the very bottom of the pot, under the grill. Layer
tamales over the grill, making sure they don't touch the bottom of
the pot. Place them on top of one another until the pot is full.
Steam tamales over medium heat for half an hour to 40 minutes,
depending on how big your pot is and how many tamales you're cooking.
Test the tamales by simply opening one up. The masa, when cooked,
should be jelled and not mealy and too soft. Don't over cook or
the masa will be too dry. When they're done, let them sit in the
pot for about a half an hour so that they can completely gel. If
you eat them too soon they'll be too soft. When you take off the
husk, the tamale should come out easily, and come out solid. Throw
out the husk.

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