3 pounds lean ground meat
1 extra-large onion (finely chopped)
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies, 10 ounce size
1 envelope Two-Alarm Chili Mix
1 can peeled tomatoes (chopped), 16 ounce size
1 can Mexican-Style chili powder, 2.5 ounce size
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups bottled water
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups Martha White cornbread mix
In a large, heavy skillet start off by sauteing the ground beef and the onions until the beef browns and the onions become tender.
At this point, strain the meat in a colander and drain off all but a couple tablespoons of the beef drippings. But keep it in reserve-you'll need it later.
Then, in an 8-quart tamale (stock) pot combine into the meat the Rotel tomatoes, the chili mix, the peeled tomatoes, the chili powder, the cumin, the water, and your salt and cayenne pepper. Now bring the mixture up to a slow boil, but as soon as the boil begins reduce the heat to low and simmer everything together (with the cover on the pot) for about 45 minutes to an hour. Next, strain the meat again from the juices (but save the juices).
Then put the seasoned meat back into the pot and stir in the cornbread mix and one cup of the meat drippings that you saved from the sauteing process. At this point, you can adjust the 'spiciness' of the tamales by adding either more chili powder or cayenne pepper. Then mix everything together extremely well once more and note - you want the tamale mixture to be moist and pasty, but not 'wet'.
Finally, when you're ready to start making them, place about a tablespoon of the meat stuffing into the center of a moistened tamale paper, roll the paper around the tamale, and put the rolled tamales into an 8 or 10-quart deep steamer pot, wrapped ends down.
When they're all in the pot-standing upright on end--it's time to ladle over the tamales all the juices and drippings you reserved during the preparation process and simmer everything on low for about 45 minutes. All that's left is to serve them piping hot alongside a stack of saltine crackers when you're ready to eat.
Oh, and I recommend you serve them N'Awlins style-on top of most of a Times Picayune newspaper. Enjoy!
Here's a chef's hint: For best results, use the cornbread mix on the grocery shelf containing the smallest amount of sugar.
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