Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican pride and heritage. It commemorates their victory against the French Army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It is widely celebrated with lots of food, folk dancing, parades and mariachi music.
To celebrate this tradition, I would like to share a traditional Mexican recipe that uses unique ingredients. Tamales are called ‘old school’ sandwiches because it has corn meal and meat. It is often cooked during Mexican celebrations and special events. It is also a comfort food that is eaten for breakfast or dinner. It goes well with champorado.
4 pounds boneless chuck roast
4 cloves garlic
3 8oz packages dried corn husks
4 dried ancho chiles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon white vinegar
salt to taste
3 cups lard
1 tablespoon salt
9 cups masa harina
Soak the corn husks in warm water for 3 hours or until they are soft. Weigh them down using a can or heavy plate.
Put the beef and garlic in a large heavy pot with cold water. Place it under high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer covered for 3-4 hours or until the beef is very tender. Transfer the beef to a plate and reserve cups of broth. Discard the garlic.
Once the beef is cool, shred it finely using a fork.
Heat an iron skillet under medium heat and toast the ancho chili for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Let it cool. Remove the stems and seeds. Ground it using a mortar and pestle.
Rinse the iron skillet and place it under medium heat. Once it is dry, heat the oil. Stir in the flour and cook for 3-5 minutes or until brown. Pour in 1 cup of beef broth and mix until smooth. Add the ground chili, red pepper flakes, vinegar, cumin seeds, ground cumin, minced garlic, pepper flakes and oregano. Add the shredded beef. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Combine the lard and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat it on high speed using an electric mixer until it becomes fluffy. Add the masa harina and beat at low speed for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the reserved broth until the dough is soft.
Drain the corn husks. Flatten them with the narrow end facing you and spread 2 tablespoons of masa mixture on the corn husk. Top it with 1 tablespoon of meat mixture. Roll up the long side of the corn husk. Fold the narrow end and tie it using a butcher’s twine. Repeat this process for the remaining ingredients.
Put the tamales in a steamer and steam it for 1 hour or until the masa is firm. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.
Photo Courtesy Of: Daniel Rincón