Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tamales for His Birthday Present

Last week was my husband's birthday. He loves tamales, so for his birthday present (rather than buying him something) I made him a batch of homemade tamales. This is my second attempt at tamale making, and I've learned that it's not as intimidating as it seems. It's time consuming in that you let the meat and then the finished tamales cook for several hours, but the actual creation isn't too bad. Spreading the masa dough on the corn husks is the long part, and that's actually fun--like playing with edible Mexican-flavored playdough. The wonderful thing about this Mexican food is that it's easy to make and inexpensive (you can use cheap meat and stretch it to fill a lot of tamales); it's also freezable and easy to reheat.

Since my husband hunts, we have a lot of game meat in the freezer. With all the Mexican spices, you can't tell much difference between elk roast shredded for the filling and the traditional pork/chicken or beef. So I was able to use what I had on hand, plus $6 for a new bag of corn husks, $3.75 for a new bag of Maseca, and $1 for another bottle of chili pepper (all of which I'll be able to use again for my next batch of tamales). With $10 and some time invested, I was able to produce 42 tamales and wrap them into 18 lunch portions to put in the freezer. Because it's garden season, I also had an abundance of tomatoes and green peppers that I turned into homemade salsa. My husband loved his birthday present!

For those of you interested in learning to make tamales, I used this website for my recipe and step-by-step guide: The detailed explanations and pictures really boosted my confidence the first time around, and putting spices in the masa dough really increases the flavor of the tamales (which are sometimes rather bland without).

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