Tamales were sold on Friday afternoon at a bilingual school where I taught in Fort Worth. The school didn’t prepare the tamales...mothers of children who were students made them. Orders would be quietly taken earlier in the week.
Que tipo de tamale quieres? Cerdo? Pollo? Queso? Cuantos? Dos Docenas? Muchas Gracias!
We could hardly wait until Friday afternoon to get our tamales. One teacher (and surprisingly it was not me!) admitted that she had four tamales while driving home… just a little snack, you know! The principal of my school at that time didn’t approve AT ALL of the mothers selling tamales in the school. So…the tamales would be delivered right after the last bell rang and brought to the teachers by the children. There was usually so much chaotic talking and running after school on Friday that the principal never seemed to notice the sales transactions. Or maybe she was in her office waiting for her own tamales! Who knows?!
The tamales would be warm and wrapped in foil. The sheer anticipation of those tamales helped us to get through many a Friday! I still crave tamales on Friday afternoons!
I have never learned how to make my own tamales. One of the parents said that her church made tamales to sell at Christmas. She invited me to help out and in the long process…I could learn all the tricks of making tamales. Alas…we were going to be out of town that weekend. I really need to call the parent and invite myself to help next Christmas! Tamales take a long time to make and the following slow cooker recipe tastes close to the real thing! I found the recipe several years ago in an East Texas regional magazine!
Tamale Pie & Green Chile Cornbread
8 oz dried pinto beans
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 recipe of Green Chile Cornbread batter (see recipe below)
Soak bean in 3 cups of water in a saucepan overnight. Add baking soda to pan and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim and discard any foam from top. Drain beans; reserving 1 1/4 cups liquid and place into a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
Saute ground beef, onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, oregano and cayenne in oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until beef is cooked through. Drain drippings and transfer mixture to slow cooker, do not stir. Cover slow cooker and cook until beans are creamy and tender on high setting, for about 3 hours.
Add tomatoes and corn to slow cooker, stir in tomato paste to combine. Top filling with cornbread batter (see recipe below). Cover slow cooker and cook until a toothpick inserted in center of cornbread comes out clean, about 1 hour on low setting. Top with cheese and chives, cover until cheese melts for (about 5 minutes).
Green Chile Cornbread
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 shredded pepper jack cheese
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 4.5 oz. can green chilies
2 teaspoons fresh chives
Combine cheddar and pepper jack cheese in a small bowl. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of cheese mixture, buttermilk, egg, and chilies. Stir dry and wet ingredients until combined. Pour into slow cooker.
***Follow Tamale Pie directions above Cornbread recipe for adding the cornbread batter to the slow cooker. Remember to top with remaining cheese and chives after the cornbread cooks with the Tamale Pie ingredients for one hour. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.