Many months ago my cooking club came over and we tackled what we thought would be authentic and delicious tamales. Authentic tamales = lard. But within moments of opening the ominous looking tub of Manteca I knew we’d made a huge mistake.
Turns out that while authentic = lard, lard = freaking foul stuff that stinks up your whole house and makes tamales that coat your mouth in a nasty film. The tamales weren’t horrible but we all agreed that they left something to be desired.
As we all know, butter = the secret to all things delicious.
So Erl the Girl and I set out to take another crack at tamales with the help of this great recipe from October’s Cooking Light. We did the filling called for in the recipe, as well as a slow-cooked and shredded pork with green chili sauce, and, because it was the weekend following Thanksgiving, a turkey left-over tamale that turned out to be delicious. Oh, and chocolate. Also delicious.
One word to the wise: the steaming technique described in the magazine is far easier and more effective than using a steaming basket, but kiss the kitchen towel you use goodbye. It will look like this when all is said and done:
Minimize the damage by doing a few things:
- WET the towel, don’t just dampen it.
- Keep a spray bottle handy and spritz the towel every fifteen minutes or so
- Position two oven racks in the center of the oven close to each other. Put the sheet pan with the tamales on the bottom rack and an empty sheet pan on the rack above it. This will help prevent burning.