07 November 2010

Ancho Chile Pork Tamales

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You can't go wrong with tamales. Unless you're allergic to corn or something, then disregard that statement hehe. Whether you're a beef, pork, chicken, fish person, you simply can't go wrong. It'll definitely require a lot of hard work and making them the first time for me was an interesting experience. I often found myself wishing I had 4 hands haha. But after you've made them once, you'll find shortcuts that will work for you. I did, so I'm sure anyone can too :) They're simpler to prepare than you normally would think. I have all the time in the world and when I don't, I would go out of my way to MAKE all the time in the world just to make this Latin dish haha. That's how much I love them :)

The first time I read a tamale recipe, I was intimidated, but was able to pull it off. If I can do it, YOU can do it! Here are my shortcuts. I hope they help somewhat.

My Shortcuts
  •  Buy ready made shredded pork from the butcher shop (you can also use rotisserie if you're using chicken). If you live near a Mexican grocery store, they will most likely have it.

  •  Use store bought (low sodium) beef or chicken broth. It's not the same as pork broth, but will get you the same depth of flavor.

  •  Prepare both masa dough and pork filling ahead of time, to cut down on the work load.

  •  Get a friend/relative or your kids to help you! Especially assembling the tamales will be fun for the kids. Most kids I know love to get involved in what their parents are doing. It makes them feel important. I know when I was little I loved getting my hands dirty and "playing with food". PLUS, you get to bond with them! :)

If you're still interested in the recipe and I hope that you are,

Pork Filling
- 3 lbs of pork roast/butt sliced into chunks
- 10 C water
- 6  tbsp salt (3 stock, 1 chile sauce, 2 dough)
- 1 whole onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic halved
- 10 dried chile anchos
- 1 tbsp flour (optional)
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil

Boil pork, onions, and garlic in 10 C of water for 2-3 hours or until pork is tender.  Take out pork and let cool.

Cut open dried chiles and take out all the seeds and membranes. Rinse with cold water until completely clean.  Boil for 5-10 minutes or until chiles are tender and water has changed color to a deep red (this will create the chile broth, you will need to blend it with)

In a blender, blend chiles with a C of the broth, 1 tbsp of salt, pinch of cayenne pepper, half C of pork stock. Blend until smooth.

In a saucepan drizzle 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of flour and mix until flour is fully cooked and is golden brown in color (will be paste-like in consistency) THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL. I JUST LIKE THE THICKNESS IT CREATES.

Slowly add chile broth and whisk until thick sauce has formed.  Add more salt, cayenne pepper, if needed.  Add shredded pork to the mixture and combine until meat is fully coated w/ the sauce. Set 1/4 C aside for masa dough

Masa Wrapper
- 6 C of masa harina (corn flour)
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ C vegetable shortening (or lard)
- 4-6 C of pork stock
- ¼ C of thickened ancho chile broth
- pack of hojas (dried corn husks)

In one large mixing bowl beat shortening until soft and creamy.  In another bowl combine dry ingredients.

Alternate adding dry and cooled pork broth until you have formed a paste like consistency. Add some of the thickened chile broth you used to make the filling (for color and flavor)

Assembling the tamale
1) Soak corn husks in lukewarm water for 10 minutes

2) Smear dough onto the corn husks evenly

3) Place 1 ½ tsp of filling onto center of the dough

4) Wrap filling (like you would a burrito or egg roll)

5) Steam for 40 minutes

This is a more complicated recipe and I was pretty tired after making them the traditional way the first time BUT I hope that the list of shortcuts I compiled earlier can help out even just a little bit for those interested in making these at home. ENJOY!


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