Sunday, March 4, 2007

Tamale practice for CJ - Part 1

Tamales are right up there with my favorite foods, and I've always wanted to make them. So, now that we've got a little Guatemalan baby on the way, we are also looking for ways to incorporate her birth culture into our lives. Considering how much we love to cook, food might be the best method for us. So, now, two reasons to learn how to make Tamales and other Latin American cuisine. We'll be making a slightly modified version of this recipe.

Tamale making can be time consuming, particularly if you're making them for a party, or holiday. It's tradition in Guatemala to make tamal colorado (red tamales) and tamal negra (black) at Christmas time in huge batches for the whole family. The biggest difference in Central American tamales that I've seen so far would be the use of plantain or banana leaves instead of the more common corn husks. We'll be using corn husks anyway. The recipes I've found also tend to use more solid chunks of meat before the steaming rather than pre-cooked and shredded. We'll be using solid lean pork shoulder.

Here's a snapshot of the gathered ingredients - you'll see capers, olives, and a cinnamon stick as well. The dried chilies are supposed to be ancho and quajillo. We found some close approximations as far as heat level goes.

And the first step - soaking the corn husks for 2 hours while we make the other ingredients

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