New Orleans Tamales

A plate of New Orleans Tamales with peppers and all the fixings

Anyone born and raised in New Orleans will remember MANUEL’S Hot Tamales. We would buy 10 dozen at 35 cents per dozen. On the ride home, you could just smell the tamales in the car, anxiously waiting to get home so we could eat them with white crackers. This recipe is not MANUEL’S, but it’s a very good version of the real New Orleans Tamale.

INSTRUCTIONS, PART 1

The very first step is to soak your corn husk in a bowl of very hot water. While they are soaking you can begin to prepare the meat, flour and sauce.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEAT

3 pounds ground meat
4 ounces chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons cayenne powder
3 tablespoons salt
1 cup mesa flour

A plate of New Orleans Tamales

INSTRUCTIONS, PART 2

Mix all ingredients well. In a separate, large pot or bowl mix these flour ingredients together:

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FLOUR

3 cups self-rising corn meal
2 cups mesa flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 ounce chili powder

INSTRUCTIONS, PART 3

You will need a very large pot with lid, big enough to cover 2 burners to prepare the sauce.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE

6 ounces canned tomato paste
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 large onion cut very small
Water

INSTRUCTIONS, PART 4

Combine all these ingredients and add water to fill 1/3 of the pot. Begin a slow boil then place on the lid. Continue cooking on a low boil while you prepare the tamales.

A big pot of fresh cooked New Orleans Tamales

Take one tablespoon of meat mixture, place it into the palm of your hand and roll a meatball. Then flatten it out into a long roll. Once the meat is in a tight roll, place it in the flour mixture and completely cover with flour. Get a corn husk ready by placing it on the table, fold the small part up in half, and place the floured meat in the center of husk. Now, fold the right side tightly, then roll and tuck tight. Place the prepared tamale to the side and continue until all tamales are complete.

Turn the sauce off and let it cool just a little. When ready, place tamales in, one at a time. Sometimes I will stand them up on the sides of the pot. Make sure you can fit the lid on. If the tamale is too tall you can lay them down in the pot. Once all the tamales are in the pot, place the lid on and medium boil for 60 minutes. Then, take out and eat!

A plate of New Orleans Tamales with peppers, a fork and all the fixings

These keep well in a freezer for meals later, too!