These tamales were made from a recipe in Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican Cookbook and based on Velázquez de León's Cocina de Nuevo León, located in Northeastern Mexico. I'm not sure what makes these tamales different than any other.
As suggested, I substituted New Mexico chiles in place of cascabeles norteños since I couldn't find those. These also have ancho chiles as well which are probably the easiest dried chiles to find. This is probably only the second time I've made tamales from scratch with no help from my mom though I've helped her make them many times growing up.
I had originally planned on making a double batch but I forgot how long these take to make even though the cookbook timing says it only takes 2 3/4 hours. It must have taken about 3.5 hours just to prepare them and an 1.5 hours of steaming. I used my vegetable steamer which is the perfect size for making tamales. I think my mom always used a pressure cooker to make hers. I had a little sauce leftover too since I only ended up making one batch of masa dough and added some over the top of the tamales for a little more spice. We ended up having a late dinner, not eating till about 9:00 and I only ended up making one batch but had some meat leftover that I'll probably use to make pork tacos.
I was a little disappointed at the lack of spice in the meat. I was expecting a lot more spice than there was. I can only guess that soaking the chiles in hot water probably drained a lot of flavor out of the chiles. I much preferred the chipotle pork tamales I made last year. I just realized it was March of last year that I made tamales too. Maybe I'll make this into an annual tradition. There are a couple of other tamale recipes in the cookbook that I may give a try but I probably won't be going back to this one.