As the weather starts to get cold and all of the holiday baking begins, I always long for Tamales. Being married to a Mexican and having a daughter who is gluten sensitive I am always looking for filling and inexpensive meals. For the first 2 years of our relationship I stayed clear of Mexican dishes. I knew that I wouldnt make them the same as my Mother In Law and I didnt want to disappoint. About a year ago I started experimenting and tried my first batch of homemade tortillas with husbands guidance. It was a long process and the meat didnt hold on to the flavor like I thought it would. We had purchased prepared masa from a local Mexican food store here in town. Since this time I have honed in on some other cooking skills and have created an extremely delicious tamale and it takes 1/6th of the time to make.

Pork Filling

You will want to make the pork filling 1 day before you plan on assembling tamales.

You will need:

  • Pork Meat (something that will shred easily) The amount will vary depending on how many Tamales you are making. you need a little over 1TBLS of meat per tamale.
  • 2 28oz cans of Green Chile Enchilada Sauce I used Las Palmas brand
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon of minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • Half a Can of Water
  • Electric Pressure Cooker*

Place all of the ingredients into your Pressure Cooker. You will cook on high pressure for 50 min. After it has finished cooking you will unplug machine and let it sit there for about 30 min. This is called Natural Release. After the 30 min you can carefully Quick Release any remaining pressure. Let cool for an hour or so and then transfer into a large bowl and store in the refrigerator over night.

*I have a 6 quart Crock Pot brand Pressure Cooker. I will be using generic setting information and you can use any electric pressure cooker you own.

Preparing Your Own Tamale Masa

You will need the following

  • 1 1/3 cups Lard
  • 2 TBLS plus 6-8 TBLS Chicken Broth
  • 4 Cups Masa
  • 2 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1 TSP Salt

First I want to say that I got this Masa recipe from All Recipe. I doubled their original recipe and I found the servings to be off. With the ingredients listed above you should be able to make about 17 tamales.

Mix together Lard and 2 TBLS Chicken broth until fluffy. Add in in Masa, Baking Powder and Salt. Slowly add in Remaining Chicken broth. I added it in 1 TBLS at a time until it was a sponge textured dough. This will take between 6-8 Tablespoons.

I used a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on Stir to do this process.

Assembling Tamales

You will need to gather the following Supplies and Ingredients

  • Tamale Filling (Recipe Above)
  • Prepared Tamale Masa (Recipe Above)
  • Corn Husks
  • Heavy Bowl as weight
  • Tortilla Press
  • 1 Quart size storage bag
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • Pressure Cooker Insert
  • Pressure Cooker Rack

Your first step is to soak your corn husks. This will soften them and make them easier to work with. You will need to rinse them in sink and then add them to a large bowl of water. The corn husks are light and will float to the top unless you weight them down. You can see below how I have the Bowl resting on top of corn husks. if they do not fully submerge you will need to flip them after 15 minutes so all of the corn husk gets softened.

The easiest and cleanest way to do this process is as an assembly line. However I do it on my own and so could you if you needed to.

Take your Quart Size Storage Bag and cut off the zipper portion. You will also need to slit both long edges of bag. You will be using this as your nonstick feature on your Tortilla Press.

Place Ball of Masa Dough in the center of press. Make sure you have it layered between the storage bag. Press the Tortilla Press down using the handle to flatten tortilla. Remove top layer of storage bag from Masa. Place your hand on the masa and flip it so the remaining storage bag is facing up and back of hand is facing table. Carefully remove remaining Storage Bag from Masa. Place Masa on Softened Corn Husk. If your corn husk is not large enough then just lay down 2 corn husks making sure they have a decent overlap.

Place about a table spoon or two of meat in the center of the Masa in a stripe. Using the husk you will gently fold over one side of the circle and then the other side.

You will then wrap the husk around the Tamale. Take the bottom portion of husk and gently fold up at the base of tamale. This will create a pocket and stop the tamale from falling out during cooking. As I fold I usually gently pinch the bottom of Tamale. Set Aside and continue until you are done with all of your tamales. (I have enough meat to do 40-50 Tamales so be prepared that you might need to make multiple batches of Masa

Add 1.5 cups of water to the bottom of Pressure Cooker Liner and place rack down. Carefully start placing wrapped Tamales in liner. You want to keep the open ends pointed up and use other Tamales to hold up the folded ends.

Cook at High Pressure for 30 minutes. Unplug and Quick Release Steam. Let stand for 5 minutes with lid off and then Remove from Liner.

You can either serve immediately in Husk or out of Husk or Freeze remaing quanties. I prefer to freeze in husk to prevent sticking together.

I will be creating a Desert Tamale soon too.