INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds beef
2 pounds pork
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
Salt
Black pepper
Red pepper
10 cups masa harina (corn flour)
3 cups lard or shortening
Corn husks

Making tamales is a labor of love and is time-consuming.

Please keep in mind that it will require 5 to 6 hours from start to finish. So take off your instant gratification hat. The meat and masa (dough) are prepared separately, then combined to make the tamales. We suggest you invite friends and family over when making tamales so it is as much a social event as it is a good day’s work in the kitchen!

MEAT MIXTURE
INGREDIENTS: (FROM THE ABOVE)
2 pounds beef
2 pounds pork
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
Salt, black pepper, red pepper to taste

Combine beef, pork, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 cup of chopped onions, and salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste in a large pot and cover with water. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3½ hours. After 3½ hours, remove pot from heat and allow to cool. Once moderately cool, remove and strain meat from liquid and shred. Be sure to keep the strained liquid for use in your masa later. Once you have shredded the meat mixture, place in refrigerator to cool.

DOUGH (MASA HARINA)
INGREDIENTS: (FROM THE ABOVE)
10 cups masa harina (corn flour)
3 cups lard or shortening
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Red pepper to taste
Seasoned water that meat was cooked in

Mix your 10 cups of masa harina, 3 cups of lard or shortening, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, and red pepper to taste in a large container. Slowly add the hot
strained liquid from the meat mixture and mix thoroughly.

We suggest that the masa have the same consistency as thick cornbread. Allow to cool once masa has reached desired consistency.

CORN SCHUCKS /HUSKS:
Wash the corn shucks under running water, removing the corn silks, and then soak in a big pot of hot, but not boiling, water for at least 3 hours in order to soften the shuck so it is easy to handle. This step can be done while the meat is cooking. Once the shucks are pliable, you can lay them out to be filled with the dough and meat mixture.

Spread the dough (masa harina) on with a knife; then spread the meat mixture over the masa. The meat mixture will be heavier and thicker than the masa mixture. Once the masa and meat are applied to the shuck, the narrow end of the shuck is folded up and the shuck is then rolled up from side to side. Tie the tamales in bundles of six with a string prior to the final step.

FINAL STEP:
Once the tamales are all bundled, place them in a steam basket and cook them over water. It is important that the water is not completely steamed away at any time. Keep the steamer full of water so the tamales do not dry out. They are best served hot right out of the pot. Suggestion for libation: ice cold beer.

—Courtesy David Gammill, Natchez, Mississippi

 

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