(This was day 349 of the No Grocery Store Challenge.)
A couple of months ago, I decided it would be fun to make tamales for Christmas and invited a few folks over for a Tamalada. Stephanie has mad tamale making skills, so with her at the helm, we worked out the details. Everyone would prepare the filling of their choice and bring it already prepared. Stephanie would prepare the masa, and we would meet to assemble over snacks and drinks, ending the day with tamale dinner. So, on Saturday, I made my filling, green chile shredded pork, enhanced with an entire tub of Taco Deli dona sauce for heat, because the chiles were very mild. Addie made some imaginative pumpkin, squash and pepper filling. Stephanie made smoked pork with an espresso sauce, Lisa made chicken mole, and also brought some amazing cornmeal cookies and a very large cheese ball, the recipe from Edible Austin. Lisa always brings thoughtful dishes to complement the theme of the day. The cornmeal cookies were a perfect example of that. Rachelle made an Indian inspired pork filling. Christian provided drinks, and humor and helped with the heavy lifting and child care. We had some Austin Slow Burn queso and El Milagro chips, Duck and Fig Rillettes from Kocurek Family Charcuterie, Pure Luck Chevre with Confituras Strawberry Preserves, and Kocurek Duck Bacon. We snack well.
I soaked the husks overnight in a big tub. I kept having to push them down to keep them wet, there were so many.
Stephanie decided the best way to tell our tamales apart, for our trade later in the day, was to fold them each differently. She made little boats with hers, and tied them on each end.
We stuffed tamales, laughed, and talked about food. And about Lisa’s giant cheese ball! This was delicious and we managed to put quite a dent in it.
We shared big tins for our uncooked tamales. Here are Lisa’s and Rachelle’s.
Mine were the plainly folded ones. This was my second time to make tamales and I felt very unskilled in the early going.
Once the tins started to fill up, Christian fired up the outdoor turkey fryer, which we used to steam them. And we kept stuffing, and folding. The cold weather kept the outdoor pot from getting as hot as we would like, so we brought it inside and put it on the stove with the second pot, for better heat control.
The larger one was taller than I am. I couldn’t even see down in it.
We tidied up a little, snacked, had drinks and visited while the tamales steamed. Once the first ones were ready, we took them out and started to dig in. Stephanie had made a green sauce, and I had a quart of Dai Due Venison Chile on the stove, for serving with our tamales.
We quickly filled up my kitchen island again, with plates, condiments, and tamales. They were all good, enhanced especially by Stephanie’s fluffy and tender masa. This is not the greasy, orange compacted masa I’m used to. This whipped masa was as light as can be.
This was a wonderful day, and I hope to do it again next year!