Nothing Left, to Say...

Where We Shed Light on the Right, We respect governance by the 2C's, Common Sense and the Constitution, where we never have anything say...We are also the home of the (almost) weekly Rant and Recipe...

Monday, December 24, 2007

There's a big ol' silver moon over the desert tonight so Santa should have no trouble finding the spacious Villa Ranchito. I've been busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest too, what with suppressing lib'ruls in my classes while researching Constitutional law, (something your average lefty has utter disdain for) and preparing for Christmas. To top it all off the political scene has left me completely depressed. Seems Fred can't get any traction at all and nothing but liberal Republicans are getting airtime and support. I can't stomach the thought of voting for Rudy Julie Annie and would only offer lukewarm support to either Romney, McCain or Huckabee. So rather than dwell on it this Christmas Eve, I'm going to give thanks to God for the most precious gift ever given. A son.

After a proper amount of quiet reflection on that gift, I've got gifts of my own to wrap and tuck under the tree. Then perhaps a couple fingers of Indian cough syrup over some ice with an egg nog chaser. That should make for a nice dessert. Now around here on Christmas Eve we traditionally put out a prime rib. Tomorrow we'll feast on Virginia Ham and home made macaroni and cheese. Of course this being Christmas, it just wouldn't have seemed right to pass the season without some homemade tamales. Normally I'd wait until we went down to the Bay Area to visit Mama Villa but she's currently in temporary quarters while the ol' homestead gets renovated. That being the case, I couldn't count on homemade tamales from that quarter and I was forced to consider alternatives.

The only viable option of course was to make them myself. Now I've made tamales before and I grew up watching the womenfolk do all the work every Christmas. I know how brutal the art of tamale making can be. I wasn't looking forward to it, but if I wanted tamales for Christmas, and I didn't want to eat some semi-plastic rubbish passed off as tamale like food substance, then I was going to have to resign myself to a hard days labor. Am I glad I did, I turned out about 5 dozen pork chile and chicken, cheese and chile tamales. Now I confess that some of the pork ones were a little bland for me. Needed more salt and spice to my mind. On the other hand, the chicken, cheese and chile tamales were sublime. Even the usually hard to please Mrs. Smilin' Paul said they were the best tamales she's had in years.

With that high praise in mind, here is my Christmas gift to y'all, my chicken, cheese and chile tamale recipe.

Two packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Two packages of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Two cans of roasted, diced green chile, mild
One 14 oz can of chicken stock
One small can of diced jalapenos
garlic powder

Now to make sure you get the chicken really tender, you have to simmer this over low heat, or use a crockpot like I did. Sprinkle all of the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place them in the crock pot on low or in a large skillet over low heat. Add the chicken stock and two cans of chiles. Add about 1/3 of the can of jalapenos. Stir to combine and cover. Cook for about 5 hours or so, until the chicken is easily pulled apart with a fork. Pull the chicken and set aside.

Now prepare your husks by separating them and placing them into a large container. Pour hot water over them and weigh them down so that they don't float. Let them set in the hot water for at least 20-30 minutes, until the husks are pliable. When they are ready, remove them from the water, pat them dry and set them aside.

While the husks are soaking, prepare your masa dough. Now I confess that I cheated by using 5 lbs of prepared dough. All I had to do was put it in the Kitchen Aid with a dough hook and 1 tbsp baking powder, 2.25 tbsps of salt and begin stirring. Slowly add in 1 lb of lard, cut into pieces. Allow the pieces to be folded into the dough before adding more. Once the lard is all in, stir the dough for another 20 minutes or so. When the dough is ready set up your assembly line.

I sat down last night and took a husk, spread a thin layer of masa all over it leaving the bottom third exposed. Next I added a generous spoonful of the chicken mixture, a slice of jalapeno and finally, a pinch of cheese. Roll the tamale tightly and pinch the top closed, then fold up the bottom and you're ready to go. Once you've made all the tamales you're going to, place them into a steamer over medium-high heat and steam them for an hour and a half or so. The tamales are ready when the husk pulls away cleanly from the masa dough. One last word, be careful lifting the lid on that steamer, it can scald the hell outta your hand, I learned the hard way. Of course it was worth it for the tamales that came out of there.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and good eatin' on you!!

Smilin' Paul Villa U.S. Senate 2010
cyber-Congressman, R-Reno
Proud Member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and 2 SUV Family