Have you ever heard of four Asians and a Jew making Mexican tamales? Though it sounds like the beginning to a really bad, non-PC joke, it was actually my Saturday. Believe it! We were inspired by a recent tamale making episode of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" and of course our love of tamales. Most of the ones out on the market seem to be about 25% filling and 75% masa. We wanted super filled, super saucy tamales, so why take chances when we can make them just how we want them. As gung ho as we all were about tamale making, did any of us really have any business venturing into the secret society of abuela work?
Thanks to Jamie, our tamale hostess, our filling combinations were endless. We had beef, pork, chicken and even oxtails! Cheeses included Jack, Oaxacan string cheese, panela and echilado cheese. It was nice to use the combination of a meltable, mild cheese alongside a spicy, salty cheese like the enchilado. Vegetables included roasted poblanos, roasted jalapenos, corn and black beans.
Gotta have a little cerveza while you work.
I was a big fan of the "compound tamale" - meat, cheese, beans, corn and roasted peppers all stuffed into a thin layer of masa. Flavor bomb!
The tamales took a few hours to assemble, but even longer to steam since we had to split our 100+ tamales into batches.
Once our tamales were ready, we really wished that we would have somehow marked them so we could find the oxtail ones first. No problem though. If we had to eat five or ten just to get to one oxtail, well then it was still worth it.