It's not the holidays in Mexico without tamales! Whether it's for Christmas or Día de la Candelaria (celebrated on February 2), this recipe is definitely worth the prep time, as the meat can be cooked in your slow-cooker (which is mostly hands-off) and shredded a day ahead of time. You can make preparations even easier by recruiting some family members for help with assembly of the tamales. Then, just wrap and steam your tamales, and enjoy them together!
You'll need a special steamer pot for tamales, or a deep stock pot with a steamer rack, which can be found at just about any home goods store that sells kitchenwares.
A tip for soaking the corn husks: this can be started 24 hours in advance and you can weigh them down with a drinking glass so they stay submerged. This way, they'll be perfectly pliable when you're ready to wrap your tamales.
Spray cooking spray in slow cooker, covering bottom and 3 inches up the side.
Boil water in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add coffee granules and Abuelita chocolate tablet. Stir to dissolve.
Combine chile powder, bouillon, cumin and oregano in a small bowl. Stir until all spices are mixed, thensprinkle brisket with spices, covering all sides and place in slow cooker. Add bay leaf and coffee/chocolate mixture.
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Soak corn husks in water for at least 1 hour.
Remove bay leaf, scrape off any excess fat, and shred meat with two forks into 1 ½-inch shreds.
To assemble tamales:
Place corn husk on a flat surface, pointy side down. Spread ¼ cup masa on husk, 2 tablespoons shredded beef, 1 potato strip and 1 onion strip.
Fold sides, overlapping over filling.
Arrange tamales upright on steamer rack. Fill stock pot with hot water to right below the rack.
Cover tamales with remaining husks and damp towel; cover with lid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, adding water as needed. Steam for 1 hour or until masa pulls away from husk.
Pour hot water and bouillon in small saucepan; mix well. Stir in mole until dissolved. Add Abuelita chocolate. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, for three minutes or until chocolate has dissolved and mixture has thickened.
Remove corn husks and drizzle mole over tamales to serve.