my friend's Grandmother's (un)recipe- ;)
we worked on a plastic table cloth to roll out the tamales
Before starting this, soak corn husks in hot water until pliable.
3 LBS of meat should make 4-5 dozen tamales.
Use a roast or cheap steaks with quite a bit of fat. If there is not enough fat in the broth, you have to add some fat after the meat has cooked, preferably lard, but Crisco will also work. Cook in plenty of water since the broth will be used to make the masa. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and cumin.
for the meat you can use beef, pork or chicken just remember to use fatty meat
When meat is done, remove to cool the liquid, hot liquid does not work well to make the dough. Cut meat into 1/2 cubes or shred into a bowl, add chili powder and some water to make juice (the chili powder will thicken it into a sauce) The amount of chili powder depends on your tastes but add enough to give meat flavor and zing and then add some more. The bit more will steam out. taste test the meat it should be very spicy almost to the overload point
For the masa dough use Masa Harina. You can often get masa at stores but it just as easy to use the mix. Pour about 1/2 of a 5 LB bag of masa into a large bowl. Add enough cooled broth so form a soft dough, sort of like mashed potatoes, adding enough salt to make it really salty. Use a mixer to save your arms! taste test this dough it should be OVERLY salty
Spread a thin layer of masa (1/8 in thick or so) on a flatten corn husk, and about 4-5 inches up from the bottom of the husk. The husk has a thicker/wider bottom portion and a thinner/small top. The dough should go from one side edge about 1/2 to 2/3 of the husk in and along the thicker bottom edge. Put a tablespoon of meat with some juice vertically down the middle of the dough. Fold from the side edge covered with the dough over the meat and keep rolling the rest of the husk. Fold the pointy end of the husk (with no dough in it) over to "seal" one end.
Let stand overnight in the fridge
In a deep pot put a layer of smaller unused husks on the bottom and make a "steamer" by crumpling up tin foil into a ball and pierce it with a sharp knife all over. Stack the tamales around the "steamer" to form a tee pee folded end down. Add about 1 inch of water to the bottom. Cover the tamales with a damp cloth (this will be stained so use something old!) Cover pot and cook over medium heat watching to make sure the water doesn't run out.
Cook time is about 30-60 minutes. To see if done unwrap a tamale...if it comes off cleanly they are done. If it sticks a little, let one cool a minute and try again.
Tamales can be frozen uncooked or cooked. Cooked tamales can be reheated by steaming or in the microwave.
After a few tries it will get easier to judge how much meat, masa, and husks are needed and how to judge the consistency of the masa.