Tamales, estilo Ranchero!
My husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law often complain about the state of tamales these days. "Pura masa", they often say--all dough, no filling. They just don't make things like they used to, do they? We finally decided to take matters into our own hands. Ooh, what a busy, delicious day! First we had to fatten the rooster. We got him up to 8 pounds. Here are the ingredients we used: Then we soaked the dried red chilis in hot water. We then puréed the chili water mix in the blender. Half we used to marinate the chicken (along with salt and olive oil), and the other half we used to make the dough, or masa. Here is my mother in law prepping the masa into balls. Meanwhile, everybody was chopping the vegetables. Leon even got in on the action. Here's where it gets really fun and we start assembling the tamales. We did some in banana leaf (preferred by my family because they come out moister), and the rest with corn husk. You can see a tortilla press in the there. We pressed the dough circles flat onto the leaf or husk, then filled with the ingredients. Yummy, looking so delicious!! Then we used strips of palm frond to tie them off. My mother-in-law prefers datil fronds, but no one went out to the desert to harvest any in time. Now, it's into the pot! We used a grate on the bottom, filled the bottom with water, and set all the tamales on the grate, and we let them cook for about an hour. Except, when we went to check on them, we were out of gas. So we had to hook up an extra gas tank to the stove. Here's everyone waiting around for the tamales. They came out perfect! Now Carlos wants to start a tamale business. Yes yes, in between construction, farming, teaching, and 3 baby boys, I'm sure we will find the time!