One young man of Mexican heritage passed on his mother's best tips for making a light and fluffy tamale. It works! These are not for the diet conscious so I have made mine tapas size. We can enjoy them without over indulging.
Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!
Braised Duck & Wild Mushroom Tamales
1 cup of duck meat (breast, leg doesn't matter)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon anchilo chile powder
2 tablespoons dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and add the dried mushrooms. Let them sit in the hot water for 20 minutes. Remove and reserve the soaking liquid.
4 c. instant corn masa mix
4 c. lukewarm water or broth
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 1/3 c. lard or shortening
Combine Masa Mix, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Work in the water or broth using a stand mixer, if possible, or otherwise your fingers to make a soft, moist dough. Beat this masa mixture until it is light and smooth and resembles a cake batter. Let sit for 20 minutes.
In another bowl, beat lard or shortening until fluffy. If you have a stand mixer, this is ideal. Beat it until very light and fluffy and until it almost triples in volume. This will ensure a light tamale.
Slowly add the whipped lard to the dough a little at a time and mix in gently until well combined. Refrigerate until you are ready to use it. At this point you can test the dough to see if it has been beaten enough. Drop a small amount, about the size of a raspberry into a glass of cold water. If it floats, you will have a light and fluffy tamale.