Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pork Tamales

I feel like this week I am surrounded by Thanksgiving. Food Network is showing all their thanksgiving food shows, people are blogging about thanksgiving food, and I am surrounded by recipes of stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Oh, and of course, turkey. While I love all these things, I'm going to post something on the opposite side of the spectrum. I'm going to enjoy to the fullest all the food and gluttony that comes with the holiday on Thursday, but afterwards you may want to mix it up a bit. I'm not talking Thanksgiving leftovers either. I'm talking something totally different. Maybe for dinner Monday night after you are sick of turkey-cranberry paninis and fried eggs over stuffing. I'm talking about tamales.

Wait, don't make this Monday night. You will never have time to make these on a Monday. Wait until the next weekend when you can take your time and really enjoy the whole process of making tamales from scratch. I really wish I knew who came up with the whole process, because it certainly isn't quick and easy. The results, however, are absolutely delicious and wholesome. It also makes a lot and the little rolls freeze well. So if you are looking for a quick dinner, this isn't it. It is fun to do though, if you have the time. I also like that I was able to leave out any ingredients that I normally don't like in tamales (such as coriander and spicy peppers).

Truth is, I have never liked tamales. My Dad used to bring them home and I absolutely hated them. I thought the texture was weird and that they didn't have much flavor. I was a picky kid in general though. I've had a sour taste in my mouth about them ever since and just haven't been motivated to try them again. Until my husband challenged me to make a tamale that I liked. He likes them, and I figured so long as I was making them, there was no way they could be bad because I'm not going to cook with ingredients that I don't like. So, I took on the challenge and made my own, and I am so happy I did. I love these. They are filling, nutritious, and perfect with a salad for dinner or on its own for lunch (or like I did a week ago, for a snack before bed).

I started with this recipe from no recipes. Then I changed it almost completely. I followed the technique though, which was the important part.

I started with 4 large bone-in pork cuts. They equaled about 3 1/2 lbs all together. I seared them in my cast iron dutch iron in some olive oil.

Then I added a bunch of veggies and stuff on top. Onions, carrots, garlic, a cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves, salt, pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, and chili powder.

I put the cover on and let it simmer for 3 hours, resulting in pork that fell apart when I touched it. I took it out and put it in a bowl to cool a bit.

Meanwhile I made the sauce. 1 red onion went into my food processor and sauteed it in a saucepan with some olive oil until it was nice and soft.

Then it went back in the processor with sesame seeds, chili powder, diced tomatoes, honey, salt, cumin, and oregano.

After the meat cooled a bit, I shredded it.

With the rest of the pot juices, I strained out the veggies and was left with a good amount of pork broth, which is used in the rest of the recipe!

I added about a cup of the broth to the food processor and that made the sauce. I added all but a cup to the meat. The rest I used to top the tamales with later.

 Now, on the the masa. Probably my favorite part. I used butter, but had I lard I would have used it. I didn't mind the butter flavor though. Not one bit! It is pretty simple. I combined masa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Then I whipped the butter in my mixer.

Then I added the masa mixture, blended it, and then added the pork stock until it looked like this. Nice and moist, but not too gooey. 

I also soaked my corn husks in some hot water to soften them. I had to keep them in the water so I put some cans on top!

Then for the fun part: assembly. I had my masa, my corn husks, and my pork. I had my baking sheet ready, and a cutting board to do it all on. 

So first, I put a good amount of masa on the corn husk, leaving about an inch at the top. I wanted it to cover the filling but not overlap, basically.  I'd say I used about 1/3 cup of masa for each tamale.

 Then I put a line of pork down the middle.

Then folded in the smaller end...

And rolled from bottom up!

One down! I put them seam side down on a cookie sheet.

Until I had 14 tamales.

I don't have a steamer, or any good way to steam these, so I baked them in my oven with a pan of water to make steam. These probably would have come out moister if I had actually steamed them on the stove. 

After baking for about 45 minutes they were done! They came out of the corn husk nicely.

I served them with extra sauce and a homemade coleslaw.

Homemade Pork Tamales

3 lbs bone-in pork (either a roast or just cuts)
1 onion
2 carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves

1 large red onion
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 15 oz can whole tomatoes
extra broth from pork

dried corn husks

4 cups masa harina
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup soft butter
extra broth from pork

To make the pork - sear it on both sides in a large pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 hours or until falling apart. Remove from pot and shred when cool. Strain the vegetables and herbs out of the stock and reserve for the rest of the recipe.

For the sauce - Pulse red onion in food processor until small chunks. Saute in olive oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Add back into food processor and add rest of the ingredients. Start with a cup of broth and see how it tastes - add more broth for a thinner sauce. Add all but 1 cup to the pulled pork.

Soak the corn husks in hot water after the previous steps are completed.

Mix the masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whip the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy, then add the masa. Add in enough brother to make a soft play-dough like mixture. I used about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

To assemble - Lay out a soft corn husk and put a thin layer of masa over the whole thing, leaving about an inch at the top. Put about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pork mixture and roll up as shown in the photos, leaving one end open. Once all assembled, steam the tamales for 30-45 minutes. Then they are done! They freeze great. Serve with the rest of the sauce.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness! I bet your house smelled AMAZING after you made these!!