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Tamales Fiasco

Well, I set out to make tamales yesterday and what a mess! First of all, I wasn't really planning at all to make tamales, but when the "stew" that I had pulled from the freezer turned out to be tamale meat mixture...I decided to go ahead as all I had to do was the masa.


I worked in the morning on the computer and then went to teach my computer class. Afterwards, I did two errands and then headed home. I got caught in some construction traffic on southbound 44. I couldn't go around it, because the 44 is the only way to cross the river unless I divert by many miles.


Hence, I didn't get home until 2:30 pm and company was coming. I mixed the masa and it had a really good flavor. Then I cooked it and as it thickened it became more concentrated and really was too salty. I thought about giving it to the chickens and just starting over, but knew I wouldn't have enough time.


I then tasted the meat mixture and it was horrible! I don't know if it got freezer burn or what, but it was nasty. I had David take it out to the chickens and I grabbed a sack of potatoes. I washed them and cut them up really fast and put them on to cook. I then grabbed two jars of canned turkey: one that was plain and one that had been prepared as my Spanish Turkey recipe.


I opened the jars, put them in a big mixing bowel, added the cooked potatoes, mixed it all together. I DID NOT add any spices, nor salt or pepper. My hope was that the meat and potatoes would absorb the excess salt from the masa and the tamales would be alright.


I then pulled out foil (I wrap the tamales in foil when I don't have plantain leaves) and stated putting the tamales together. I put them in my large pressure canner, added some water, put the lid on. Brought the pressure up and then put the weight on and let them cook at 10 pounds of pressure for about 40 minutes.


During that time, I panicked as I was afraid the tamales would not be eatable. I grabbed some leftover corn, black beans, and hamburger gravy from the fridge. I also grabbed a small bag of hamburger from the freezer. I cooked the hamburger in some water and dehydrated onion, salt, and pepper. Then when it was cooked, I added the leftovers to it. I then added some leftover spaghetti sauce and a packet of Goya seasoning. I had a taco mixture!


In another pan, I heated up some milk and added some leftover cheese sauce that we had. I put two salsas out that we had and chips. So if worse came to worse, we could have nachos/pile-ons...whatever you want to call them. I also had some leftover rice that I heated up in the microwave.


We had two different families come and everyone highly praised the tamales and the food in general. The tamales did come out a little salty, but when eaten with the taco meat, cheese sauce, and rice-- you could not tell at all.


You definitely could not tell the meat had been canned. I don't even believe I told anyone that. I waited until everyone had gone home and then asked Fito if the meat had tasted strange. He said no. I then told him that it was the meat I had canned, and he was amazed too.

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