Think of Christmas Tamales as little presents with a lot of little surprises. In addition to masa harina, the staple of any tamale, the ham and date adds a festive element. Along with the supporting roles of the red pepper and raisins, along with the tangy sauce, this tamale offers a contrasting between sour, sweet, and salty with a little spice.
- 1 1/2 pound tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 guajillo chiles
- 2 oz pumpkin seeds
- 2 oz sesame
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups masa harina
- 3 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup lard
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 lb ham
- 2 red bell pepper
- Red vinegar
- 12 green olives
- 36 almonds
- 36 capers
- 12 dates, one for each tamale
- 36 raisins
- Chop olives in half.
- Chop ham in 1/2 in dice
- Core and seed bell peppers. Slice peppers into long strips and soak in red vinegar for 15 minutes.
- Peel garlic.
- Toast chiles on open flame and then soak in boiling water.
- Prepare Salsa
- Set oven to broil and roast garlic and tomatoes until tomatoes are have black spots.
- Meanwhile, toast seeds and pumpkin seeds until fragrant.
- For salsa, puree roasted tomatoes, garlic, chiles (without liquid), and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. If too thick, add more broth.
- Strain salsa through fine sieve.
- Prepare masa
- Bring stock to boil.
- Add masa to boiling stock gradually, whisking constantly to get rid of lumps. Continue stirring for 10 minutes.
- Add lard and salt and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir as needed to prevent lumps.
- Take off heat.
- Cut banana leaves into 8 x 10 sheets.
- Blanch banana leaves for 45 seconds each.
- Place 1/4 cup masa one third of the length from the right and in the middle in terms of top and bottom.
- Use hands to flatten masa and make into rectangle.
- Add ham, olives, capers, and raisins, leaving an indention for the date. Distribute raisins and caper evenly for contrast.
- Add strip of red pepper at bottom of masa.
- Add date to masa.
- Wrap tamale by folding 1/3 from the right. Then fold in sides from top and bottom. Finally fold last third from left.
- Tie tamale using strips from spare banana leaves or using twine.
- Bring pot of water to boil.
- Add tamales to steaming tray and cover. Steam on low heat for 75 minutes.
- Let tamales rest for 10 minutes and serve.