My Favorite Annual Mexican Christmas Tradition!
After my Grandma died about five years ago our family stopped making tamales at Christmastime; something we had done every year when she was alive. She always ran the show. All of us helped, but she made the masa and cooked the meat – the most important steps. The rest of us mainly “assembled” them before steaming them to perfection.
A few years ago we tried on our own, all under the watchful eye of my mother, but we only made about 10 dozen. Not nearly enough! When Grandma was alive we made a minimum of 80 dozen and as many as 110 dozen! They freeze great and make yummy gifts for family and friends. This year we made 28 dozen and it took nearly all day.
First we boiled the dried chilies in water until the skins got soft then pulverized them in a blender until we had a thick, soupy, hot & spicy sauce.
Next we soaked the hojas (corn husks) in hot water overnight.
We cooked an enormous pork loin roast overnight in a crock pot (with a little chicken broth) then added in 7 pounds of raw ground beef. As it all cooked together I shredded the pork roast, added garlic, salt, pepper, ground cumin and cups and cups of the red chili.
Next we spread the masa on the hojas one at a time, filled them with meat, rolled them up, wrapped 6 at a time in foil bundles and steamed them for 2 hours.
Finally came the preparation of the charred tomato salsa. Plum tomatoes, jalapeños and cloves of garlic went under the broiler. Once the skins of the tomatoes and jalapeños were blackened, it all went into the food processor with salt, pepper, onion and cilantro.
Then we ate! So much work but worth every minute of effort.