Wild Game Tamales 

Being from Southern California, Mexican dishes influence almost every aspect of our daily meal plans. Being an hour away from Mexico the flavors are at our finger tips. On every corner there is a mom & pop restaurants that has amazing Mexican cuisine. So taking this influence that surrounds me, I decided to try my hand at my favorite of these dishes… Tamales.

Here is what I came up with. They are a huge hit and will defentaly be added to the monthly rotation of dinners and lunches.
   

Wild Game Tamales
From Field To Plate
 
Ingredients: Filling
3 pounds wild game. Any game from ducks to elk will work
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 can green chilies
(Or any fresh, dried or caned pepper/ chili you prefer. The spice is up to you.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups of broth, stock or water
( if poultry I uses my pheasant, turkey of chicken stock. For red meats I use my homemade venison, elk or beef stock)

Directions: filling
1. In large stock pot add all ingredients minus the meat
2. Bring liquid to boil and reduce heat to med, cooking another 30 minutes to develop flavor
3. Add meat and bring back up to a boil. Cook on med-low for 2-3 hours until meat is tender and pulls apart.
4. While meat is cooking add your dried corn husks to a bowl of warm water, soak for 2-3 hours.
5. Remove meat from stock pot and shred into a bowl. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking broth for tamale dough

 
Ingredients:
2 cups Masa (Corn Flour)
1 cup broth from stock pot
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup melted lard
(if substituting butted use 1 cup melted butter)
 
Directions: Tamale Dough
 1. In mixer mix all dried ingredients
2. Slowly add lard to mixture until it clumps
3. Add 1 cup of broth. One trick I learned from a master of tamale making is you want the dough to have the constiancy of peanut butter. So if you need to add more broth do so in tablespoons until you have the right texture
4. Cover and set aside until ready to use.
 

Ingredients: Salsa Verde

  

1 pound tomatillos
½ cup white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano chile, minced
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
2 cups of water

Directions: salsa verde
1. Place onion, garlic and chilies in sauce pan with ½ teaspoon oil and cook for 1-2 minutes 
2. Add remaining ingredients and bring mixture to boil
3. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tomatillos are soft
4. Remove from heat and add mixture to blender or food processor, blend until smooth
I like to prepare this while the meat is cooking and let it chill in the fridge to build flavor before I add it to the meat mixture.
 
Building your tamales

1. Take your shredded meat and 1 cup of salsa and mix together, set aside

2. Take 1 corn husk and find the smooth side, once you’ve found the smooth side of the husk add 1 tablespoon of tamale dough to the lower half (you will want to cover half the corn husk with dough. Leaving the top half free of dough.) you can use a spoon of knife to spread your dough, all through I was showed a trick to spread it quicker and easier. Take a small square of kitchen plastic wrap and put it over the dough, using your fingers spread the dough out.
 
3. Once dough has been spread add 1 tablespoon of meat to the center and fold tamale (See pictures)

  
 
4. Fill the bottom with water and line the steam shelf of a large tamale steam pot or seafood steam pot with corn husks, add tamales with open ends faced towards the middle. If stacking tamales do so in a cross pattern. Cover pot and cook on high
 
5. Cook for 1 hour, remove one tamale from the pot and test. You will know the tamale is done when the corn husk pulls away from the tamale.
 
6. Now comes the fun part EATING!!! Remove husks and top each tamale with the remaining salsa Verde and enjoy.
  

 
I love making double or triple batches and freezing them. Tamales freeze really well and keep for months. Tamales take a lot of time to make because you are handcrafting each one. So get the whole family involved. I have the kiddos spread the dough as I roll. Makes dinner time fun and gets everyone excited to eat what their own hands created. Don’t be scared off by making your own salsa either, you can buy any store salsas or sauces for these. Just have fun and remember if you cook it they will eat.

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