Now, about this recipe, folks… I figure if you’re loose enough to be a Religious Experience fan, then you’re loose enough to cook the way I cook… This is not paint-by-numbers, this is not your average high school band attempting to play Purple Haze… This is Picasso, this Jimi, this is a free-form jam session and if you can’t stand the heeeeeeeeeat, get out of the kitchen. I will guide you through, and these will come out great! First, let’s deal with some “terms”: ABOUT — Approximately Almost, Around, More or Less, Close to, Nearly… FUN — Have Fun! Experiment! Take Chances! If you screw up, well, it won’t be the first or last time, eh? And when it comes out great, hey, you did it!
- 2 whole chickens
- 5-lb bag of masa harina de maise (corn flour, NOT corn meal)
- 3 big yellow onions
- 1 bag dry corn husks (carried by most supermarkets in the western U.S.)
- 2 jars Religious Experience Salsa
- Original is probably the best choice for cooking, and for those who like it HOT, have a jar of The Wrath on the table.
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 2 Tbs. honey
- Bring the chickens, ground cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a boil in a large pot and let simmer for an hour and a half.
- Drain off the stock and save.
- Bone the chickens, tearing the larger pieces into 1/4″ wide strips (this can be done the day before).
- Place the corn husks in a sink of hot water and submerge them by placing a plate or something heavy on top. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Peel the onions and cut them into 1/4″ wedges. Saute the onions in 3-4 Tbs. of oil until they are yellow (not brown).
- Add the chicken strips, chili powder, honey, and about 1 cup R.E. “Original”.
- Heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
- Now, put about half a bag of masa in a large bowl with 2 tsp. salt. Mix the dry ingredients and slowly add the chicken stock until the masa is of a consistency thick pancake batter (so that it will still run from the spoon).
- Place the masa in the center of a corn husk and spread it out evenly (use your judgement!). After the masa is spread, place lengthwise in the lower third of the masa about 3-4 Tbs. of the chicken mixture. Roll the corn husk and masa over the chicken tightly, and fold the small tapered end of the husk under. Stack on a steamer rack in a large pot, folded side down. Close is good enough — remember, real tamales are not tidy little clones!
- Continue the process until you have used all of the chicken mixutre. You may have to mix more masa.
Makes 2-2 dozen tamales.
Steam the tamales for about an hour on fairly high heat, and remember to keep adding water as needed. Cool about 10 minutes before serving.