1. Wash and soak 1 seven ounce bag dried corn husks overnight.
2. Take 10 large dried ancho or chili Nuevo Mexico peppers and remove stems, split open and remove seeds. Cover with boiling water and let stand for 20 minutes. Pour juice and peppers into blender and pulverize. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard debris that is left in the strainer. Put juice aside for later.
3. Brown 4.5 to 5 pounds of 80/20 ground beef.
1 large onion, pulverized in blender
1 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
About two cups pureed, strained chili peppers
Mix well and set aside.
4. To make your Masa you will need:
8 cups Martha White Self Rising Cornmeal
2 cups lard or Crisco
Remainder of pureed, strained chili peppers
Place remainder of pureed, strained chili peppers to a large measure cup and add water so you have 8 cups of liquid. Place liquid mixture into a large pot and bring to a low boil. With a whisk, begin adding cornmeal. When all cornmeal is added, continue to whisk and add the lard or Crisco. Mix until well blended.
5. To assemble your tamales: Pat corn husk dry and spread two heaping tablespoons of masa in the middle of the husk using a plastic putty knife. Then put one heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture in the middle. Pick up the sides of the husk and bring together so the masa forms around the filling. Roll the side together and fold the bottom over.
6. Cooking: Stand tamales upright, with folded end down, in a steamer and steam for about an hour, replenishing the water as needed. Serve hot plain or add a red or green enchilada sauce.
7. Freezing: Wrap in foil, we do a dozen per package, then place in a freezer zip lock bag and seal well. Thaw and steam as needed.
Hot tamales at 9:20 in the morning....we couldn't wait!
Here is a great video about making tamales from a child's point of view. It takes you through each step. They use pork instead of ground beef.