Tamale making is a long process so the more tamale affectionados to help out, the better. This was my first tamale making gig but as I am a great fan of eating them I figured it is about time I participate. What with boiling chicken until the meat falls off the bone, shredding the meat and mixing the cornmeal massa, and assembling the ingredients like origami, then steaming the finished tamales, making tamales - a hundred or so - can easily fill up most of a day.
On the cool side, at least to me, tamale recipes seems the sort of cooking you don't really need a recipe for. When it came time to add spices to the shredded chicken, we got artistic. A little chopped jalapeno here, some garlic there, not to mention varying teaspoons, dollops & dashes of cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, cilantro, and anything else that seemed tasty.
The massa - cornmeal with good old fashioned artery hardening lard, salt and such was prepared the previous day. So after soaking corn husks in water, we were ready to go.
with hot peppers & every Mexican spice found under the sun;
(they are steamed actually) then they are ready to eat
And now a word to the wise, or to those with eyes bigger than their stomachs & thick skulls like me. You see, once upon a bit, decades ago Rick and Nancy gave me a dozen tamales from one of their tamale parties. I ate some - yum... then I ate some more... yumm.... then I ate yet another and suddenly - I thought I was gonnna die! Tamales can be quite petite, and they go down easily. However, after you eat them, the cornmeal absorbs all your stomach liquid and blows up like a puffer fish. OUCH! So be careful eating your tamales - or else!