Mexican Tamales

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Authentic Mexican tamales recipe.

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Tamales, Mexican
Authentic Mexican tamale recipe
Course Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the roast in a large pan and cover it with water. Slice half a large onion and add it to the water, along with the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer til the meat is very tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
  2. Stem and seed the peppers. Place in bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit until soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain peppers and reserve the liquid. Put peppers in blender. Rough-chop the other half of the onion and add to blender. Add garlic cloves. Blend, adding salt to taste and part of the reserved liquid and/or meat stock by tablespoons in turns until the chili sauce is the consistency of thick tomato sauce. Set aside.
  4. Mix shortening or lard with masa harina and baking powder until light and airy. Add 2 cups of the reserved pepper liquid and/or meat stock. Knead until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add about 5 or so tablespoons of the chili pepper sauce to the masa mix in a food processor until the consistency is about like that of tomato paste and has a beautiful orangey-red color.
  6. Shred the cooked meat and put it in a skillet. Chop half the second onion and add to skillet, along with the chili sauce. Simmer about 10 or 15 minutes to marry the flavors and reduce to a thick consistency.
  7. Slice potatoes or carrots into 1/4-inch thick sticks. These will go inside the tamales.
  8. Soak dried corn husks in hot water in a flat pan held down with a plate or pot lid until they are soft and pliable.
  9. Assemble the tamales: spread a couple of tablespoons of the masa mix on a soaked corn husk. If the masa mixture is the right consistency, it will not stick to the corn husk. Another test is to drop a little ball of it into a cup of water. If it floats, it's the right consistency.
  10. Spoon on about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Place an olive and a potato or carrot stick on top.
  11. Fold the corn husk over the filling. It's good if there is masa on the edge because it helps the tamale stay folded. Fold the narrow end of the tamale over the rest of it to make a neat pocket. Continue assembling the tamales until the filling is used up.
  12. Put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a large pot and put a steamer rack over the water. Stand the tamales upright on the folded end on the rack. There should be enough tamales to fill the pot but not so many that they are packed tightly because they expand when they cook.
  13. Cover the pot with foil and the pot lid. You could also use the extra corn husks to cover them.
  14. Bring to a simmer and steam about 30 - 45 minutes. Masa should be the consistency of firm polenta and the potato/carrot sticks should be cooked and tender.
Recipe Notes

Cooking the meat, making the chili sauce, and even cooking the meat with the chili sauce can be done a day or so in advance.

Do not mix the dough until just before you fill the tamales.

If you want to get fancy, tie off the folded tamales with narrow strings pulled from the corn husks.

Leftover tamales are even better the next day, fried up in a skillet with some eggs for breakfast.

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Utopenci, Czech Pickled Sausage Salad Recipe

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This cold pickled sausage salad makes a good appetizer, potluck contribution or game day snack. This recipe makes a lot, but you can reduce it easily for smaller portions. It's gluten-free and wonderful with beer and dark bread.

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Utopenci, Czech Pickled Sausage Salad
Cuisine Czech
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 5 to 7 days
Servings
pounds
Ingredients
Cuisine Czech
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 5 to 7 days
Servings
pounds
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Remove the skin of sausage and cut into ½ - inch slices. Toss with cayenne. Peel and slice onions into thin rings.
  2. Combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar and spices in a heavy stockpot to make brine. Mix well and bring to boil. Make sure you have a strong kitchen fan or open window for this step; the vapors from the boiling brine mixture are overwhelming. Boil for one minute; remove from heat and allow to cool to 125° F.
  3. Layer sausage and onions alternately in gallon jar or earthenware crock. Press each layer well. Continue layering until jar or crock is full. Add layer of bay leaves to finish.
  4. Fill jar with brine to cover contents. Seal. Store in cool, dry, dark place for five to seven days. Serve at room temperature with dark bread and cold Czech beer.
Recipe Notes

Can be stored in refrigerator up to one month.

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Hirschgulasch: Bavarian Venison Goulash/Stew Recipe

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Recipe for authentic Bavarian venison stew, or Hirschgulasch. My dear German friend not only gave me her mother's family recipe, but she also gave me a hands-on tutorial on how to do it. Delicious!

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Stew: Hirschgulasch (Bavarian Venison Goulash) Recipe
Delicious, rich authentic Bavarian venison stew.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut venison into large, uniform cubes; if the cubes are too small the meat will be dry and chewy.
  2. Dice the onions.
  3. Brown the venison in a large, heavy pot/Dutch oven with a little olive oil over medium-high heat on top the stove in small batches. Remove each batch to a bowl. Once it’s all browned, add all the venison back into the pot.
  4. Stir in the onions and tomato paste with a wooden spoon. Deglaze the pan by scraping the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan while stirring. The onions provide the moisture for the deglazing.
  5. Add thyme, marjoram, stock, juniper berries, bay leaves, lingonberry preserves and wine, stirring after adding each ingredient.
  6. After all the ingredients come to temperature, the stew should be gently simmering. Adjust the temperature to achieve this. Cover the pot and let simmer for one hour. If the simmer is just right, you should not have to stir the pot for the entire hour.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the bacon and slice the mushrooms. Render the bacon in the skillet until crispy and brown. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat.
  8. Fifteen minutes before the goulash is finished simmering (45 minutes after it started), stir the bacon and mushrooms into the pot. Replace the cover and continue simmering for 15 more minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the crème fraîche to the goulash. Stir well. Taste and add salt, pepper or more lingonberry preserves, if necessary.
  10. Serve warm with noodles or Spätzle and a spoonful of lingonberry preserves on the side.
Recipe Notes

Juniper berries (Wacholderbeeren in German) are a staple of Bavarian cuisine, but if you can’t find them use a sprig of fresh rosemary, a shot of gin, or 2 extra bay leaves instead. Or simply omit the juniper berries entirely.

Use sour cream instead of crème fraîche, but sour cream is not as rich and is more tangy. Sour cream tends to curdle over heat, so be sure to remove goulash from the heat first before you add the sour cream.

Goulash is self-thickening, but if you want it thicker, add a slurry of 2 tablespoons flour mixed with ¾ cup water to the pot a few minutes before it’s done, while it’s still simmering. Cook it long enough afterward so that there is no floury taste.

This stew is tailored for venison, but you can use stew beef or chicken, too.

Serve over Spatzle noodles.

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