Who loves tamales?! I am half-Mexican, and I have been eating tamales as long as I can remember. They have always been a special treat that I thought would be so hard to make. My mom never made them for us, we always bought them or were gifted them by those that had made them.
Then several years ago, I made a very best dear friend, that is from Mexico. She made tamales all the time. I thought she must have super powers! Then after talking to her and learning how to make them I realized that they are actually SUPER easy, but just take some time.
Well I’ve got time (sometimes anyways). So I set out to make my first batch of tamales! I just cooked my meat in a slow cooker with some enchilada sauce and a few spices, then shredded it! So easy right?!
For the masa, you can buy it prepared, or you can buy the flour and mix it up at home. Either way really is so easy.
For the corn husks, again super easy but takes a little time. You need to soak them in water so that they soften up for use.
Now, for a special tool I used to make my most recent batch of tamales, you can use a masa spreader and find them on Amazon. However, just as easy and how I made mine the first time around, was using a spoon to scoop the masa onto the cornhusk and then using the back of the spoon to spread it out. Easy peasy just takes some time. It’s a labor of love.
So read through the recipe a few times to get familiar with it, then set aside a couple days to make them. I recommend making your meat in the slow cooker the night prior that way in the morning it is ready for shredding, and preparing with the masa and cornhusks.
- 4-5 lbs pork, chicken or beef
- 2 T cumin
- 2 cloves of garlic, or 2 tsp from jarred garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 29 oz can of green or red enchilada sauce divided
- 2 T cumin
- 1 T garlic salt
- 5 lb bag of masa
- 8 oz lard
- 1/4 can remaining enchilada sauce
- 1 T baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 48 corn husks
Put your meat, 2 T cumin, garlic, and salt into a crockpot. Cover in water. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours. When tender, shred, and return to pot. Add 3/4 of the enchilada sauce (saving the 1/4 for the masa), add another 2 T cumin, and 1 T garlic salt. Let cook in crockpot an additional hour to heat through. While meat is heating, make your masa.
First, get your corn husks and soak them in warm water for about 45 minutes and then drain.
Combine the masa ingredients until it is moist but not “wet”.
Spread a thin layer of masa on a husk with the back of a spoon or a tamale spreader. Spread and turn clockwise covering before the corn husk narrows, and leaving about 1/2″ around edges not covered with masa. Place some of the meat in the middle. Roll husk closed, and fold up narrow end. Steam in a double boiler or steam pot for 45 minutes up to 2 hours depending on how many you have steaming.