WOW! They worked. Let me back up. I think I had my first tamale months ago when I went out on a limb and got one at my favorite restaurant. Since then I get them every time we go there. I love them. I kept craving tamales and really wanted to make them at home but I knew you had to have a large pot and a steamer, which I didn't have. In my search for a tamale recipe I came across The Crockpot Lady who had made them in the crockpot with success. My search ended and it was only a matter of time before I could make them. I originally wanted to make them for Cinco de Mayo but we were still unpacking from our move so I decided to have a little Mexican party for my birthday last weekend and made them. We invited guests and the party was great. I served the tamales, with my Spanish rice, black beans a little pico de gallo and some virgin pina coladas. For dessert I made Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache and Cinnamon-Honey Ice Cream. Everything was delicious! The tamales were surprisingly easy to make, despite all the comments I had read and heard that they were so labor intensive. I takes minutes to get the dough ready and it only took me about a half hour to fill the tamales (and that was with 2 little helpers too). I guess if you were making double or triple the batch for a big gathering it would take a bit more time. I do suggest making the pork the day before since it takes several hours to cook and it also uses the crockpot.
For the tamale dough:
2 cups Maseca or masa harina for tamales
2 cups warm water or chicken broth
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt a few dashes of chipotle tabasco sauce
2/3 cup lard, vegetable shortening, or coconut oil
For the tamales:
1/2 recipe Cafe Rio Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork
1 (6-oz.) package dried corn husks (I found mine in the Mexican section of Walmart)
Soak the "ojas," or corn husks, in hot water while you prepare the masa. Combine maseca, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Remove wrapper from the chipotle seasoning cube and crumble it in with the dry ingredients. work broth or water with your fingers to make a soft moist dough.
In a small bowl, beat lard or shortening until fluffy. Add it to the masa
and beat until dough has a spongy texture.
Prepare tamales with filling. First spread out an oja on a work surface.
Next, with a paddle or a small putty knife, spread the masa evenly on the lower, wider half of the oja. Make sure it is thick enough that you don't see the oja through the dough.
Put about a tablespoon or so of the shredded pork
in the middle of the dough,
roll it up,
then fold the bottom half up
Place the tamales in a dish with a lid while you finish assembling the remaining tamales.
**Update 5/16/2013- I no longer use vegetable shortening in my cooking. Use coconut oil in it's place; it whips up similarly.
- SOURCE: Maseca and A Year of Slow Cooking