Delta-Style Tamales Recipe

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Lodge Cast Iron Nation Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast

  • Yield: 48 tamales

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds ground beef
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups self-rising white corn meal mix
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1¾ cups lard
  • 48 coffee filters
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans tomato sauce
Hot sauce
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
How to Make It
  1. Place the ground beef in a large, heavy stockpot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the meat is very tender, 2 to 2½ hours. Reserving the cooking water, drain the meat into a colander. Heat the oil in a Lodge 7-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onion, chili powder, salt, onion and garlic powders, black pepper, cayenne, and cumin until the onion is well coated with the spices. Add the meat, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is hot, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Combine the corn meal mix, salt, and lard in a Lodge 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven, and mix well. Cook the dough over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Lay a coffee filter on a clean work surface. Spread ¼ to ½ cup of the dough in an even layer across the center of the filter. Pat it out to your desired thickness in the form of a rectangle. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling in a line down the center of the dough. Holding opposite sides of the filter, roll the tamale so that the dough surrounds the filling and forms a narrow cylinder or package. Fold the top and bottom of the filter under to enclose the tamale. Tie the package closed crosswise with kitchen twine. Place the completed tamales in a single layer on a baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough and filling are used. Wash and dry the 7-quart Dutch oven. Arrange the tamale bundles in a single layer on the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, 6 cups of the reserved meat broth, hot sauce to taste, onion, jalapeños, and next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil, then carefully pour over the tamales. Cover the pot, and cook the tamales at a slow simmer for 3 to 4 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a tamale should register 180°. To serve, remove the tamales from their coffee-filter jackets, and top with their simmering sauce.
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