Hot Tamales and Chili
Papa Haggard was my maternal grandfather. In the mid-1930’s he owned a restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. Mother worked in the restaurant. When she was sixteen years old, she had to quit school to help Papa. One of her jobs was making hot tamales. She didn’t make them for us very often, because she said she had to make so many of them when she worked at the restaurant that she didn’t want to make them any more. It was a real treat for us when she did make them, and a taste bud party I will never forget.
With the last days of winter nearly gone, and during the dogwood and blackberry winters of colder days, maybe you would like to try Mother’s recipe for hot tamales. I only recently found it. Mother dated a lot of her recipes. This one is particularly special for me, because it is dated November 9, 1950, the day before I was born!
Milly Payne’s Hot Tamales
3/4 pound sausage
1 pound hamburger or lean ground chuck
6 teaspoons chili powder – more or less as desired
1 teaspoon salt
Mix together well and form in rolls, about 3 inches long and maybe 1 1/2 inch diameter. Place on wax paper until ready to cover with cornmeal mixture.
Outside of tamale:
8 cups white cornmeal ( you can use self-rising or plain)
1 teaspoon salt (even if you use self-rising)
2 cups buttermilk, or enough to make the mix a consistency to pat around the meat mix.
2 teaspoons chili powder.
Mix well with hands. Pat around meat mixture until well coated, about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick. Set aside.
Soak corn shucks in hot water. Place around tamales and tie each end with a strip of the corn shuck. Tie a strip in the middle of the tamale. Cip ends. Be sure the tamale is well-covered with shucks. Cook in boiling water for 30-35 minutes.
Remove tamale from shucks and cover with chili.
My favorite chili recipe is by Betty Lynch from My Country Kitchen. I encourage you to visit her site, not only for the amazing chili recipe, but for all the other fabulous recipes she has there.
I hope you enjoy the tamales and chili. You many find it will be one of your favorite winter foods, too.