Tamales Rápidos

Tamales Rápidos
Masa dough:
2 cups masa harina (dry corn masa)
1 1/3 cups lukewarm chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
½ cup oil (olive is preferable)
Stir all ingredients. Keep moist. Add more broth if the mixture dries too much.

Fillings:
Strips of white cheese and canned chiles
Chimichanga meat
Hamburger
Turkey or Chicken
Anything you want

Use either corn husks that have been soaked and washed carefully or pieces of foil. Spread the dough down the center of the husk or foil. Put some filling in a strip down the middle of the dough. If you are using foil, pull the two sides of the foil together so the masa wraps around the meat and encloses the filling completely. Fold down the two edges of the foil together to form a cylinder. Fold up the bottom and top of the foil, making sure the foil is sealed around the tamale. If you are using a corn husk, wrap the sides over the filling, fold up the bottom of the husk package, and tie it all securely together with  another piece of husk or string. The tops of the corn husk tamales will be open. Refrigerate or freeze at this point. To cook them, place them upright in a steamer for 45 minutes. Use at least 1 inch of water in the pan, or follow the directions for an electric ricecooker/ steamer. Frozen tamales will take about 15 extra minutes. This recipe will make about a dozen medium-sized tamales, or more smaller tamales, depending on how much masa you like in relation to the filling.
I always keep my masa covered with a damp towel.

Soaking the corn husk makes them pliable. 

Spread a small amount of masa in the center of the husk.

Add a small amount of filling. 

Aren't they pretty?

Tamales in the steamer.

Becky's Note: Christmas day would not feel complete without our Christmas dinner of Tamales.  As I was growing up, our family would join our extended family on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day.  It was a treat to spend time together two days in a row!  I have happy memories of driving up the big hill to Granny and Grandpa's house and the feeling of anticipation for Christmas.  Granny was a talented entertainer and her tables would be set beautifully.  On Christmas Eve we would usually eat a traditional turkey dinner.  On Christmas Day we would eat Tamales.  Granny would purchase her tamales.  I distinctly remember one Christmas when the fillings were quite a surprise (raspberry and chocolate fillings are shocking when you expect beef and chicken!).  I always thought tamales would be complicated or time consuming to make.  However, I have learned that as long as I have the masa harina on hand, I can make tamales in a matter of minutes.  I prefer my tamales small and I love to use corn husks because they look so pretty.

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