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Ken’s Famous Czech-Mex Tamales

Some people can read and learn, others can simply watch and then they can do it, me: I have to actually do it to learn how to do something.  I learned how to make tamales by helping my friend’s Grandma do everything.  Like most meals you can prepare, tamales take many different steps to complete the recipe.  I suggest that if you are ready for a challenge, tamale making is going to be fun.

          First, soak the corn shucks in a luke-warm pot of water for about 30 minutes.  Drain them and open layers finding the usable shucks and discarding the trash and small parts.  The GOOD shucks are then layed open to prepare for filling.  Next, making sure that you did get the correct masa for tamale making (Masa Harina), mix it in a large bowl with all the spices.  After blending, cut in lard or shortening with a fork or pastry cutter.  Add the water or stock in small portions and mix completely so that there are no dry areas.  The texture of this batter is important and can be adjusted by adding a little more or less liquid.  I use a rubber spatula when applying this mixture on the corn shuck.  For my tamales, I use about 2(two) tablespoons full.  Spread it as evenly as possible in about a 2-inch by 6-inch area.  I have used several kinds of meat in my tamales.  Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, deer and even rabbit make good fillers.  Whenever using opossum or cavy always add more salt.  The meat you choose may be prepared by any means.  I usually boil or bake my filling meat so that I can use the drippings or the stock for the masa mixture.  After the meat is done completely, grind or chop it into small pieces.  Combine the spices with the meat at this time.  (Some people use beans or even vegetables for tamale fillings.)  Use about 1 ˝ tablespoons of filling for each tamale.  Spread it in a line along the middle area of the masa.  Roll the husk over the filling and masa wrapping all the ingredients together.  Bend the bottom 2-3 inches of husk and place it in the top section of a steamer or double boiler pot.  Do not allow the water to touch the tamales or to boil away.  You may need to add fresh water on occasion.  Steam for about 2-3 hours.  Lay them out on a tray to cool and enjoy.  (Do not eat husk!)

2 ˝ cups Masa Harina
2 tsp. Chili powder
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Fajita seasoning
1 tsp. Cumino
˝ tsp. Garlic powder
˝ tsp. Red pepper or cayenne
˝ cup shortening or lard
2 ˝ cups water or stock

1 1/2 lbs. Meat
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black pepper
1/4 tsp. Chili powder
1/4 tsp. Cumino
1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Fajita seasoning
1/4 tsp. Red pepper or cayenne

1 package CORN HUSKS


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