Crock Pot Tamales
Today we are going to make tamales in the slow-cooker, or crock pot. You can purchase a package of tamale wrappers like this. There are smaller packages available too. Today we will be making about 25 tamales. We will also need these chiles de arbol, about 7 pieces. 1/2 pound of tomatillos, garlic, onion. We will be using masa, vegetable shortening, baking powder, 2 tablespoons rice flour, and 1 1/2 pounds of boneless stew beef. You can also make these tamales with chicken or pork. In this pot I have started cooking the tomatillos and the chile de arbol. I have 7 chiles cooking here. If you want spicier tamales, just add more chiles. In this pot I put water, with a piece of onion, and 2 cloves of garlic. Now we add the meat to this. We will be cooking this for about 1 1/2 hours. We are cooking the meat over a low to medium heat, and I’ve added a teaspoon of salt. And over here, when the tomatillos have been cooking for about 15 minutes, we check on them. After about 20 minutes they are finished. Now that the tomatillos and chiles have cooked for just under 20 minutes, I put them into the blender. I add 1/4 cup chopped onion, and a clove of garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Now we have the tomatillos and peppers blended. You can check it at this point to adjust for how spicy you want it to be. We are going to put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in this frying pan, and we are going to add and fry our salsa. We are going to have this fry for about 3 to 5 minutes. You can add salt to taste as needed. And for the meat we have cooking, you might need to add water to keep it from drying out/boiling off. This has now been cooking for 1 1/2 hours. I’m going to turn it off. The meat is nice and tender. I’ll put it in a bowl and we will shred the meat. Now we are going to shred the meat. Handle it with care as it could still be very hot. If you want to you could prepare the meat and the chili one day before to save time. Now that we have shredded all the meat, we add it to the chile/sauce. We will let this cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. We are going to soak the tamale wrappers. For about 30 minutes. This will make them easier to work with when we fill them. Now we are going to prepare the masa for the tamales. 2 cups of masa flour. We are going to mix in the baking powder, the rice flour, and the salt. After mixing we add the shortening. Next we are adding the meat juice that we saved. You have to mix this with 2 ice cubes. The ice gives texture. The masa should be mixed to a medium consistency. Not too thick or too runny. You can add more meat juice as needed. Now we have been working this for about 7 to 10 minutes. This is how it should look. It is now ready. We took the tamale wrappers out of the water. We begin with a wrapper, add a full tablespoon of masa, and spread it on like this. We add the meat sauce in the middle like this. We fold it in half, and then wrap and fold it like this. This is how it looks when you finish, and we put this in a bowl for the crock pot later. Now we repeat the process to make the next tamale. First the masa filling half the wrapper, then the meat in the center. Fold in half like this, then again. Squeeze a little, and it’s ready. Now we are going to put the tamales in the slow cooker. We start by adding 3 1/2 cups of water. So that the vapor cooks the tamales, I am using an aluminum pie tin, with holes punched in it. We will also be adding some sheets of aluminum foil around the sides of the crock pot to protect the tameles from scorching/burning. When we add the tamales to the crock pot, we are going to position them vertically, with the folded side facing the wall. When the inside wall is full, we fill in the middle. Now that we have the cooker full of tamales, we are going to cover them with some extra wrappers. If you need to you can add a little weight to keep the lid of the cooker in place. You can also add foil around the edges to limit the steam that escapes. We are going to let this cook for about 4 1/2 hours. These have been cooking for a while and now we are going to check and see how they are doing. If you are cooking larger tamales, and depending on the cooker you have, cooking time is up to 6 hours. When the tamales are finished cooking, they come loose from the wrapper very easily, without sticking. The tamales at the sides will cook sooner, so we move them around. These have been cooking for 6 hours and are reading to be removed. When they are done, they don’t stick to the tamale wrapper. Like this. They are finished. We are going to remove them all let them sit for a few minutes before serving. You can reheat these in the microwave. 3 tamales cooked for 1 minute and they taste like they we just cooked.