From the Nahuatl word, tamalli, meaning "wrapped." A dough is made from fat and masa flour, then wrapped, filled, in a corn husk and steamed. Plate like an enchilada with a chile sauce, pico de gallo, cheese, refried beans and rice, etc.
The tamal is probably the pinnacle of Mexican good eats, a tradition of long, beautiful and tastiness even without the royal tamal!
|1 cup plus 2 tbsp||quick grits|
|1½ cups||boiling water|
|1 cup (4 ounces) plus 2 tbsp||masa harina|
|20||large dried corn husks|
|1½ cups||frozen corn, thawed|
|6 tbsp||unsalted butter, cut into ½" cubes and softened|
|6 tbsp||lard, softened|
|2¼ tsp||baking powder|
|1 recipe||red chile chicken filling (below)|
1. Place grits in medium bowl, whisk in boiling water, and let stand until water is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in masa harina, cover, and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place husks in large bowl, cover with hot water, and let soak until pliable, about 30 minutes.
2. Process masa dough, corn, butter, lard, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in food processor until mixture is light, sticky, and very smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides as necessary. Remove husks from water and pat dry with dish towel.
3. Working with 1 husk at a time, ...
4. Fit large pot or Dutch oven with steamer basket, removing feet from steamer basket if pot is short. Fill pot with water until it just touches bottom of basket and bring to boil. Gently lay tamales in basket with open ends facing up and seam sides facing out. Cover and steam, checking water level often and adding additional water as needed, until tamales easily come free from husks, about 1 hour. Transfer tamales to large platter. Reheat remaining sauce from filling in covered bowl in microwave, about 30 seconds, and serve with tamales.
|4||dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into ½" pieces (1 cup)|
|4||dried New Mexican chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into ½" pieces (1 cup)|
|3 tbsp||vegetable oil|
|1||large onion, chopped|
|6 cloves||garlic, minced|
|¾ tsp||ground cumin|
|¼ tsp||dried oregano|
|—||Salt and pepper|
|3 cups||chicken broth|
|1¼ pounds||boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed|
|1½ tbsp||cider vinegar|
1. Toast anchos and New Mexican chiles in 12" skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 2 to 6 minutes; transfer to bowl.
2. Heat oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin, oregano, ½ tsp salt, and toasted chiles and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in broth and simmer until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to blender and process until smooth, about 20 seconds; return to skillet.
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper, nestle into skillet, and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until chicken registers 160°, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Transfer chicken to carving board and let cool slightly. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into small pieces. Stir vinegar into sauce and season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Toss shredded chicken with 1 cup sauce. Reheat remaining sauce and serve with tamales.