This week is like a gift of time--great for p[anning as well as for reflection on the year that is almost history. For those who are in and recovering from the "storm of the century"...I pray that you will soon be able to get your life back to normal.
I can remember some record setting snow storms that I got caught up in over the Christmas holidays. As a child, living on a Kansas farm, when I was in grade school, the snow was so deep, my Father had to rescue the shorter legged animals who could not negotiate the deep, deep snow, almost chest high in the drifts. My brother and I thought it was great fun to build snow houses by digging into a drift next to a ravine where we could get out of the bitter cold.
In 1977, I was caught in Washington D.C., on a business trip and the roads were impassable. I finally got over to the train station where I managed to get on a train to New York City where I lived. Once in New York, the next challenge was to get home. The subway was the only answer, but it only took took me 4 blocks from my apartment, where I had to walk the rest. The snow was almost waist high to wade 4 blocks to my apartment.
This year, we lucked out. Where we live, along the Rio Grande valley protected from a huge, almost 11,000 foot high mountain to the east and steep hills to the west, the storm "hop scotched" over us.
We got to enjoy Christmas as usual with Stollen and champagne while opening gifts and then I prepared a "Dickensonian" dinner of a Roasted Prime Rib of beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. Sorry--no chile or chili this day.
I hope those of you who are still trying to get home, soon get there and can get settled for a Happy New Year to start 2023.
Here in New Mexico, the traditional fare for New Year's is Posole and Tamales-- recipes I have given to you and am including again for your convenience.
I would love to have you join us for our January classes and I will be extending the special Christmas pricing until January 2, 2023--January 12, we have Take a Tortilla and ... On Tuesday, January 17, we have Taco Party and on Thursday, January 26 we are presenting Chile and Chocolate, a Delicious Marriage.
We have classes set for February into March and our award winning weekend class will be February 10 - 12 and our week long class is set for April 24 - 28, 2023.
All of our classes are 100% full participation so you can really learn the techniques of the foods being prepared. Then you always get to enjoy the foods of your labors with a bountiful meal complete with the beverage of your choice including wines and beers.
Here's the recipes.
We also have a learning video for sale for making these tamales.
TRADITIONAL TAMALES WITH RED CHILE BEEF FILLING
These were my Mother’s all-time favorite tamales. They are delicious, especially when served with the red chile sauce recipe that follows.
Yield: 5 to 6 dozen tamales
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
Beef boullion or broth
1-1/2 tablespoons butter or bacon drippings
1/2 teaspoon garlic (1 clove), minced
1/2 cup ground pure hot Pecos Valley Spice Co red chile
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Mexican oregano
1 to 2 cups reserved meat stock
1. Simmer the meat in just enough beef boullion or beef broth to cover and cook until tender. Reserve the stock. Cut the meat in very small cubes or chop in a food processor. In a heavy skillet, brown the meat in the butter.
2. After the meat has browned, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cool slightly and add the ground chile. Season with salt and oregano. Add a cup of meat stock and simmer the sauce uncovered, stirring regularly for 15 to 20 minutes. Continue to add stock little by little as it blends in to make a thick, smooth filling. The balance of the stock can be used in making the red chile sauce.
The Masa (Cornmeal Mixture):
3-1/2 cups warm water
6 cups tamale masa
2 cups lard (1 pound)
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1. Add 3-1/2 cups warm water to the masa to make a very thick mixture that holds together. Immediately add ½ cup cool water and mix in with your hands to prevent any lumps from forming. Continue to periodically add COLD water, about ¼ cup at a time until the masa is the texture of pudding.
2. Using medium speed on an electric mixer, cream the lard with the salt until very fluffy and it floats on cold water. Combine the lard with the masa and mix well using the lowest speed of the electric mixer.
5-6 dozen corn husks, soaked in warm water
1. Soak the corn husks in hot water until soft and pliable. Cool to room temperature before rolling the tamales.
2. Spread about 2 tablespoons of masa mixture on each softened corn husk, making a rectangle about 3 by 4 inches and leaving at least a 2-inch margin of husk around the edges. Next, place a strip of the meat filling in a strip down the center of each tamale, being careful not to place too much filling in each.
3. Twist the top of the tamale and tie with a bow. Fold the bottom of the husk up and loosely tie the bottom end with a strip of corn husk. If you plan to freeze the tamales, do so at this point, before steaming them.
4. Stand the tamales upright on a rack with the bottom or wide end down in a large kettle or pressure cooker. Before the rack is completely filled, add water to wick up about 1/4-inch into the rack. Steam the tamales in a conventional steamer for 45 minutes, or in a pressure cooker under 15 pounds pressure for 20 minutes. Serve with sauce, either the thinned meat filling in this recipe or the Red Chile Sauce.
Note: Any leftover masa or meat mixture can be frozen. Leftover filling can be added to the Red Chile Sauce. The steamed tamales can also be frozen. Each can be frozen for up to a year!
You may serve this either as a side dish or main dish. I like to layer toppings such as fresh shredded cabbage, fresh lime wedges, avocado cubes and cilantro sprigs.
Yield: 15 to 16 servings
1 pound dried posole
1 quart water, or more
2 pounds pork, steak or roast, cut into ½” cubes
1 Tablespoon salt or to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin, or to taste
¼ cup caribe chile or to taste
1. Simmer the posole in unseasoned water until it becomes soft and the kernels have burst open; it usually requires 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stir occasionally and make sure the water level is at least an inch tabovehe kernels.
2. Brown the pork cubes in a cold, well-seasoned frying pan; adding no fat or oil to the pan. Saute until very browned, then add to the posole. Deglaze the frying pan with 1 cup water, stirring to loosen the brownies sticking to the pan. Also add this liquid to the posole.
3. Add remaining ingredients, using one-half the cumin and cook the stew for 1 or more hours, to blend the flavors. Just before serving, add the remaining half of cumin. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ideally, this dish should be started the morning before it is to be served, to allow the flavors to develop.
Notes: In Old Mexico the following toppings are often served and posole is a main dish:
2 cups thinly shredded fresh cabbage
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes
1 bunch cilantro sprigs
In Mexico, posole is often spelled with a instead of an s.
This recipe reprinted with permission from Jane Butel's Chili Madness, 2nd edition.