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Put the beans in a medium pot, add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours (depending on the size and age of the beans). The beans are cooked when their skins break easily when stirred. In a mixing bowl, beat the masa harina with the vegetable shortening, alternating with the broth until it is light, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and baking powder. Beat 2 minutes more. Clean and boil or char the banana leaves (if you cant find them already precooked). Trim out the hard veins and cut the leaves into approximately 8-10" squares. Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the garlic and scallions until golden. Add the chayote, chiles, almonds, cilantro, and beans. Mix completely, stirring and cooking everything together. Season with salt to taste. On a banana leaf square spread out a little less than 1/2 cup of the masa harina like a pancake. Top with approximately 2 tsp. of the vegetable/bean mixture. Fold over the leaf like a package and repeat with the remaining leaves and filling. Place the tamales in a steamer, overlapping them diagonally to allow steam to pass through, cover the pot and steam for at least 1 1/2 hours, checking the water level from time to time. (Peel away the leaf and only eat the filling.) Serve with tomatillo or chipotle chile salsa, accompanied by Atole (a hot masa-based drink) for authenticity. [ SOURCE 1998-Ap http://www.melissas.com/ ] >>Hanneman/Buster Recipe by: A Cooks Tour of Mexico by Nancy Zaslavsky Posted to MC-Recipe Digest by KitPATh
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