Rod Santana, host of the Harlingen-based PBS cooking show, The Mexican Kitchen, provides this recipe, which features homemade refried beans in the filling. Note that Rod just tucks under one end of the tamales and leaves the other end open.
Yield: 2 dozen tamales
1 lb. pinto beans
about 1 quart water
1 T. salt 2 cloves garlic
Tamale Dough (see recipe, below)
1 (8-oz.) package corn husks, washed, soaked in warm water for several hours or until very pliable, drained, and patted dry.
Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Add water almost to top of pot; bring to a boil. Add salt and garlic. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours, adding more boiling water as needed to maintain water level. Remove beans from heat oven beans are soft and have lost their 'pinot' spots. Remove garlic cloves. Scoop cooked beans into a skillet with a slotted spoon. Add about 1 1/2 c. liquid from Dutch oven. Mash with a potato masher over low heat until mixture is well blended. To assemble tamales, spread about 1 T. of dough on the bottom half of each corn husk, spreading thinly to make about a 4-inch-wide strip. Place 1 T. of bean mixture in center of strip, and roll lengthwise toward center. Fold down the top half of the husk, which has no dough on it, to make a cylinder. Fold pointed end of husk up toward center. Continue procedure until all dough is used. To steam tamales, use a steamer or large pot with a rack or metal colander placed inside. Add enough water to fill pot below rack level and keep tamales above water. Place tamales upright, open end up, on rack, and cover with a clean, folded dishtowel. Bring water to a boil. Cover and steam for 1 hour or until tamale dough pulls away from husk; add more boiling water as necessary.
1 c. shortening (or lard, for more authentic tamale)
2 1/2 c. masa harina
1 T. ground red chili (not chili powder)
1 tsp. salt
2 c. water Beat shortening until fluffy.
Add remaining ingredients, and beat until mixture is light and fluff
From the January 1970 issue.