Masa (ground corn meal and lard)
Carnitas (shredded pork)
Green Chile sauce or red pepper sauce
Spread the masa on the corn husk and fill center with the carnitas and add either red or green sauce. Roll up tightly and ties both ends. Steam for about 2 hours and serve.
I dont remember the first time we ate these. My family makes them every year on Christmas Eve. I know the original recipe came from my Mexican grandmas side of the family.
Tamales are a very traditional Mexican dish. They include very traditional Mexican ingredients like masa and corn husks. As for the other two ingredients involved, pork and chile/pepper, I am not sure how long they have been available for. So, that may determine how old the tradition of tamales is. The preparation of the tamales is still very traditional. With the exception of maybe the steaming part, everything else is done without the use of modern tools (as much as possible).
Julie did not know how far the recipe went back in her family, but she did know that it had been around for several generations. Her grandma was born and raised in Mexico. She does not know the tradition got started as a Christmas tradition. I speculate that since Christmas is a family time, making the tamales became a tradition because it was a way of celebrating their identity as descendants of Mexico. Julie did not have to call her family or anything to get the recipe; she just sat down and wrote it out from memory.