Friday, March 4, 2016

Pork Tamales Recipe

Tamales are something of a Mexican delicacy. My family makes these in ridiculously large quantities during the holidays and I always try my best to eat my weight in them:D! They are seriously tasty & are something I look forward to eating every year! Well this week I made a couple batches of these & taught some friends how to make them. So, I thought I'd share the process on here as well, so you too could learn how to make them!

I typically plan two days to make tamales, because it's a bit of work. The first day; I make the pork, red sauce, and masa{dough} and the second day the assembly & steaming. 
The first step in making tamales is cooking your meat. You can pick your favorite meat but traditionally pork is used in a red sauce. And those are actually my favorite, so these are the ones I make. So, to make your meat, simply place it in the crock pot for 6 hours on low with lots of water, and onions, garlic, bay leaves, knorr chicken seasoning & salt. Once the meat is fully cooked, you will shred it & set the broth aside for later.
Next you need to make your red sauce. For that you will need to reconstitute ancho chiles by boiling them in a pot of water alongside garlic, onion & chicken seasoning.
Once your chilles get a bright red coloring, you know they are done. Then you will place them in the blender with the same liquid you boiled the chiles in, as well as the onion, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin & peppercorns and blend until smooth. 
Then, you will add oil to a pan and saute the sauce and then mix in the meat. You'll bring it to a boil & then remove from heat and set it aside.
Before I make the masa, I like to reconstitute the corn husks. You can do it quickly by sticking them in a pot of boiling water. Once they get soft, you can pull them out & pat them dry.
Cut the rest of your filling: potatoes and canned jalapenos & set aside for assembly.
Now it's time for the most important part of the tamales~the masa! Getting a good consistency & taste is vital for the end result! To make the dough, you will beat the lard in a mixer to get it fluffy & light. Then you will gradually add in the Maseca{tamale corn flour}, baking powder and pork broth. You want it to be as close to a creamy peanut butter consistency as possible.  
Lay out your corn husks, masa, pork meat, jalapenos and potatoes and you're ready to assemble your tamales! Start by putting a handful of masa onto your corn husk and spreading it out into a thin layer.
Then place a spoonful of meat in the center of your tamal and add the potato and jalapeno and fold your tamal. Fold both sides of the tamal towards the center {making sure to "seal" the tamal by clamping one side of the dough to the other}. Then you will fold the pointed bottom end of the husk upwards towards the filled end.
Once you have a large batch wrapped {around fifteen-twenty}, you are ready to cook them.
You'll place them upright in a steamer pot with water & cover lid with a damp towel & steam for an hour and half. You'll probably need to refill the water once or twice {if you put a penny in with the water you'll always hear when you'll need to refill it}. 
You'll know your tamales are done when they are no longer sticky and they pull away from the husk wrapper cleanly.

Then you can start digging in:)!
Red Sauce Pork Tamales Recipe
Makes 2 dozen servings
For the shredded pork  
2 lbs pork butt / shoulder
5 1/2 cups water
1/2 tablespoon salt 
1/3 cup knorr chicken seasoning
4 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves peeled
1 onion
1 tablespoon oil
For the tamale masa
3 cups Maseca for Tamales
1 1/3 cups lard  (You can substitute vegetable shortening too)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups broth from cooked pork roast or chicken broth, divided
For the filling
3 1/2 cups of Red Chile Sauce with Pork meat
1 potato {thinly cut}
1 can of  jalapenos {thinly sliced}
1 batch tamale masa
Corn husks 
Red Chile Sauce
12 Ancho Chiles 
7 cups water
3 tablespoons Knorr Chicken Seasoning
3/4 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp cumin  
3/4 tsp black peppercorn
5 cloves garlic
1 large onion {peeled, quartered}
Directions for Red Sauce
Remove stems, seeds, and veins from the chile pods.Place in a colander and rinse well. Add the chiles to a large pot with water so they are just covered. Bring water to a boil with onions, garlic, and chicken seasoning. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes turn the chiles over with tongs to make sure the chiles soften evenly. Drain cooked pods and allow time to cool down before blending. 

Fill blender with 2 cups of boiled liquid, the cooled chile pods, garlic, onions, peppercorns, cumin, sesame seeds. Blend until smooth.

Directions for the Pork

Cook your pork in a slow cooker for 6 hours with your water, onions, garlic, bay leaves, chicken seasoning and salt. Once the meat is fully cooked, shred it & set the broth aside. Saute your red sauce in oil, then mix in the meat. Bring it to a boil & remove from heat & set aside.

Directions for the masa

Place lard in a Mixer and mix until fluffy, scraping sides so the lard stays in the center of the mixing bowl. Then gradually add in the baking powder and Maseca. Test the masa by taking a small piece (1/2 teaspoon) and dropping it into a cup of warm water. If it floats it is ready; if it sinks, add a little more lard, beat for another minute and test it again. Repeat this process until the masa floats. Pour the masa mixture into a bigger bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Cover the masa and set aside while you prepare your filling.

To Assemble Tamales

Boil corn husks in water for 5 minutes {so they are soft} & then pat them dry before use.
Spread Masa 2 tablespoons of masa on corn husk in the middle of the husk with the back of a spoon in a rectangle shape, using a downward motion towards the wide-bottom edge. 

Then add your meat filling, slice of jalapeno and potato. Then fold both sides to the center; finish off by bringing the pointed end of the husk toward the filled end. Make sure it’s a snug closure so the tamal will not open during steaming. Secure it by tying a thin strip of corn husk around the tamal. This will keep the tamales from unwrapping during the steaming process.

Steam Tamales:

Use a deep pot or tamale steamer to steam tamales. If using a tamale steamer fill with water up to the fill line. Set the tamale rack over the water. Place tamales upright, cover pot with a tightly fitting lid. Set heat on high and bring to a boil for 1.5 hours. Keep lid on tightly. To test if done, put one tamal on a plate and take off the corn husk. If it comes off without sticking to the tamal they are done!