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Delta Hot Tamales Recipe

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This recipe for Delta Hot Tamales is from The Case Family Cookbook , one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!



24 corn husks
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (12 1/2 ozs)
1 tablespoon baking powder
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound 85%-lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch, combined with 2 tablespoons cold water


1. Place husks in large bowl and cover with hot water; soak until pliable, about 30 minutes. Combine chili powder, paprika, salt, cumin, sugar, pepper, and cayenne in bowl.
2. Pulse cornmeal and baking powder in food processor until combined, about 3 pulses. Add butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons spice mixture and pulse to chop butter into small pieces, about 8 pulses. Add 1 1/4 cups water and process until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Reserve 1/2 cup cornmeal mixture. Divide remaining cornmeal mixture into 24 equal portions, about 1 1/2 tablespoons each, and place on plate.
3. Dissolve baking soda in 2 tablespoons water in large bowl. Add beef, garlic, reserved 1/2 cup cornmeal mixture, and 1 1/2 tablespoons spice mixture and knead with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide meat mixture into 24 equal portions, about 1 1/2 tablespoons each, and place on plate.
4. Remove husks from water and pat dry with dish towel. Working with 1 husk at a time, lay husk on counter, smooth side up, with long side parallel to counter edge and wide end oriented toward right. Using small offset spatula, spread 1 portion of cornmeal mixture in 3 1/2-inch square over lower right corner of husk, flush to bottom edge but leaving 1/4-inch border on right edge.
5. Place 1 portion of meat mixture in log across center of cornmeal (end to end), parallel to long side of husk. Roll husk away from you and over meat mixture so cornmeal mixture surrounds meat and forms cylinder; continue rolling to complete tamale. Fold tapered end (left side) of tamale up leaving top open. Using scissors, trim tapered end of tamale to align with filled end (if tapered end hangs over). Set tamales aside seam side down.
6. Stack tamales on their sides in groups of 6 and tie into bundles with kitchen twine. Add remaining 2 tablespoons spice mixture to large saucepan. Stand tamales, open ends up, in pot (walls of pot should clear tops of tamales). Add about 5 1/2 cups water to pot to come within 1 inch of tops of tamales, being careful not to pour water into tamales.
7. Bring tamales to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low to maintain gentle simmer, and cook until tamales are firm and beginning to pull away from husks, about 30 minutes. Using tongs and slotted spoon, carefully transfer tamales to serving platter and remove twine.
8. Return liquid to simmer over medium heat. Whisk in cornstarch slurry and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Serve sauce with tamales.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
6 to 8
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
1 Hour
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
Why this recipe works:
Unlike Mexican tamales, these Mississippi morsels are heavily spiced and stewed rather than steamed. Our winning spice mixture-a combination of chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, sugar, salt, and pepper-goes into the cornmeal and butter dough (lightened with baking powder), as well as the ground beef filling. To keep the meat moist and tender when cooked, we add baking soda, as well as a portion of the cornmeal dough, which acts as a panade. After assembling the tamales with traditional corn husks, we stew them in water, seasoned with more of the spice rub. Finally, we thicken a portion of the flavorful stewing liquid to create a potent sauce for the finished tamales.




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