How I did it: This was actually one of my first goals I ever listed on 43Things - so I'm quite excited to be able to go through the how-to's on doing this.
First things first, I love Tamales, and I was pretty convinced that I could make them. After some interneting and checking out a few books at the library, I began to understand why the tamale party was such a huge part of the process. For the work you're going to do, getting the ingredients for a large batch is just as easy as doing a tiny batch. Tamales are awesome and having a bunch in the freezer are great, so you do want to make a bunch so you don't have to do all the prep. But making a ton at once is a lot of work - so you need friends.
Outside of that, I knew that I'd need an entire weekend to do everything - because I'd be spending the Saturday prepping the meat and getting the sauces started. Sunday was the day that everyone came over to help out with Tamale construction and steaming. Of course, there was that day of grocery shopping...yet another reason you do this party-style AND you want to do a huge batch all at once.
Before this sounds super-expensive, let me tell you that this is going down as one of the cheapest food-based parties I can remember in a long time. I even had a ton of meat left over because I had grossly over-estimated how much I'd need (I could have halved it and still had leftovers). But it basically went down like this:
- Masa $5
- Pork Butt $10 (on sale @99cents/lb) - could have had 1/2
- 2 whole chickens $10 (on sale) - again, could have had 1/2
- 1 small can Crisco $2.50
- 2 bags Corn Husks - $6 (only needed 1/2 though)
- Tomatillos - $4
- Cilantro $1
- Ancho Peppers - $4
- Tomato Sauce $1
- Onions, Celery, Garlic - I already had
For less than $50 I had all the makings of tamales that not only fed everyone, but I had POUNDS of leftover shredded meat to give away to everyone, leftover cornhusks and everyone went home with plenty of tamales to freeze. We ended up with the bulk of the tamales and could eat for a month of lunches on them. Not to mention, the shredded pork and chicken that we've got to make a few dinners and/or lunches. Did I mention the homemade chicken broth and pork broth that I made? And the 2 pork butt bones I have frozen for batches of Navy Bean soup?
And this doesn't even count the good time everyone had. We ended up with an assembly line for the tamales and made them pretty fast around the kitchen island. The steaming obviously took a while, but we had a plan to kill some time with football and Wii. Outside of that, we waited to eat our spoils with some good Mexican Beer. (Okay $8 a six pack!) Read how I did it… 3 years ago
So I’ve got out invites for a couple of weeks from now. I found some pork butt on sale for the pork filling and everyone seems to be involved in some bizarre whole chicken war, so I’ll be able to have chicken filling as well.
Yay. 3 years ago
I think it’s 4-6 people (one couple is pregnant, so timing will matter in hosting this party) at this point. Everyone seemed rather intrigued by the process – I’ll need to put together a basic e-mail and let everyone know what’s involved and get some consensus on what fillings sound good to everyone.
I believe a test batch is in order soon.
Everyone suggested margaritas as well – I believe that was a given. ^^ 4 years ago
Picked up Tamales 101 and Tantalizing Tamales and both are exactly what I was looking for. Tamales 101 has a bajillion different wrapping techniques, so I should be able to figure out some good options.
I need to pick through the recipes and figure out which ones I want to put on deck. Thankfully, each book has directions on how to make small batches, so I should be able to make a test batch soon. 4 years ago
A good foodie blog had a great post on their Tamale Party.
I’d like to test out a small batch first, but later this year have friends over for margaritas and tamale making and a great deal of fun.
A few to do’s -
- Check out a few tamale books from the library to get an idea of what kinds of filling recipes I’ll want. Also get storage ideas so my friends aren’t afraid of taking home 30 tamales.
- See if I can retro-fit my lobster pot to make a very large tamale steamer (basically, I need a way to raise the tamales out of the water and do a ton at once).
- Start planting the idea with my friends. 4 years ago