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Making Hot Tamales

Directions and step-by-step photos below. To view a how-to video check out our youtube channel and watch “Making Appalachian-Style Hot Tamales”.

Ingredients:

Makes 36-40 tamales. The recipe can be halved.

Breading: Mix together with a pastry cutter in a big bowl

12 cups meal (5 lb bag self-rising meal)

1 tsp salt

2 cups Crisco (shortening)

Bring to a boil:

2 3/4 cups tomato juice (I use salt-free)

2 cups water

Pour the liquid into the meal mixture, mixing thoroughly and let set 30 minutes. The meal mixture will need to be fairly moist to be able to shape it. If the meal seems too dry or if it dries out as you’re working, sprinkle water over it to keep it moist. Keeping your hands moist helps as well. However, you do not want it to be soupy.

 

Meat Mixture: Mix in another large bowl

Hot:                                                   Mild:

2 lb ground beef                             2 lb ground beef

(chuck or round)                           (chuck or round)

1 lb sausage – hot                           1 lb sausage – mild

1/2 cup Crisco                                1/2 cup Crisco

1/2 cup chili powder                   1/4 cup chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

3 tsp +/- hot pepper flakes

(or more to taste)

 

 

Set up: From right to left – the ground beef, sausage and spices (this batch was hot). Large crockery bowl – meal, Crisco and a little chili powder (optional). Pot of tomato juice and water. A flat cookie sheet for wrapping the tamales, a cake pan with warm water, soaking the tamale papers, with the strings precut. A baking sheet for the finished tamales. (I keep the cookie sheet on a towel because invariably I dribble water everywhere!)

Note: I use tamale papers (available at some grocery stores as well as online) because they are cheaper than corn shucks, easier to use, and easier for the customer to prepare the tamale at home.

1 Setup

Put the tamale papers in a pan with warm water (I use a 12×18 cake pan). Cut pieces of cotton string about 8’-9” long.

Take a “golf ball” size ball of meal mixture and make into an oval “bowl” shape in your hand, pressing it out as thin as possible, while still holding it all together.

6 Tamale meal bowl

Take about a “walnut” size ball of meat and shape it oblong to fit into the bowl of meal. Work the meal around the meat until it is equally covered. (Pinch off excess meal so as not to make the breading too thick. Also, keeping your hands damp helps to shape the ball.)

7 Tamale meat and meal

Take a tamale paper out of the water, and working diagonally on a flat cookie sheet, begin to roll the tamale up in the paper, folding the edges in as you go, then tie.

10 Tamale wrap 1 12 Tamale tie

Tamales ready to boil.

14 Tamales ready to cook

Boil tamales 45 minutes from the time that the water comes to a full boil.

15 Boiling tamales

Tamales all finished! Let them cool and then freeze.

16 Tamales finished

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tie a string around the middle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: the tamales will expand somewhat when they are boiled due to the self-rising meal. So, don’t worry about making them too small. Practice makes perfect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take about a “walnut” size ball of meat and shape it oblong to fit into the bowl of meal. Work the meal around the meat until it is equally covered. (Pinch off excess meal so as not to make the breading too thick. Also, keeping your hands damp helps to shape the ball.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meal and Crisco        Meal mixed        Meal and meat mixed

with tomato

juice

 

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