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This is truly the one tamale recipe that I remember the most from my childhood. Chile colorado(red in color) pork tamales, a recipe handed down for generations. All families have their own versions of those special tamales cooked during the holidays and special parties. This one is it for me and since my Mom could not ship them to me, I was forced to learn how to prepare them on my own. Now, after years of practice, I actually find the whole tamale making process quite enjoyable!
Filling For Tamales
2 1/2 pounds pork butt or shoulder
1 whole garlic bulb
10 dried chile ancho, stems and seeds removed
Granulated garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Pork broth from cooked pork
Masa for the Tamales
2½ cups masa harina
2½ cups warm chicken broth
¾ cup vegetable shortening or pork manteca(lard)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1.Start by cooking the pork in a big pot with enough water to cover and the whole garlic bulb. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the water, cover, bring to a boil then lower the heat and cook for a good 3 hours or until pork becomes tender.
2.In another pot add the chile ancho and fill with water, cover with lid and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
3.When cool enough, drain the peppers and transfer them to a blender, add 1½ cups of pork stock, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 2 teaspoon of black pepper and 2 teaspoons of oregano. Blend in two batches if you don't think you can fit it in one batch. Blend until smooth, set aside.
4.Once the pork is cooked, remove from the broth and let it cool for a little while. When cool enough, shred the pork into bite-size pieces.
5.In another large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil to medium heat, add the chile ancho sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste for salt, add the pork and stir well to combine, adding more pork broth so meat is not dry, but not too soupy. Cook the pork for another 30 minutes, remove from heat and let cool completely before filling the tamales.
6.Combine masa harina, baking powder and salt in large bowl, add warm chicken broth and using your hand, work into a soft dough. In another glass bowl melt the shortening or manteca and add the shortening to the masa and work with hands until the masa has a sponge texture. If masa seems too thick add a little more chicken broth. Keep masa covered with a damp paper towel until ready to use. Prepare tamales with your favorite fillings. Makes about 24 small to medium size tamales.
1.You want to start by soaking your corn husk in hot water for a good hour or so. If you need to, you may need to place a heavy pot or bowl on top to keep them immersed in the hot water. Take a few of the husks at a time, shake off water, if they are more than 4 inches wide, just tear off the side a little.
2.Place the corn husk lengthwise in the palm of your hand with the wide side closest to you. Spread about 2 tablespoons of masa all over the bottom half of husk. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling lengthwise down the center of the tamale. Fold one side in first, then the other side (it should overlap a little on the first fold). Fold down the empty top section down and lay tamale seam side down until ready to cook.
3.Prepare large pot to steam tamales, take a small metal steamer or make a large foil ball (about 4 inches), place in the center of pot. Arrange all of your tamales standing up (open side up) around the metal steamer or foil ball. Pour in about an inch of water, cover tightly and turn heat to high to get a quick boil going, reduce heat. For the next hour or so you will have to check the tamales every 15 to 20 minutes for water level, adding it as needed. Do not let it run dry. After they have been steaming for an hour pull one tamale out and let it cool. If the corn husk pulls away easily from the masa, your tamales are done. If not steam them for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let them sit, covered, until ready to serve.
If not using the meat until a later date, I would freeze it in 2 cup quantities, so that you could just take it out as you need it and it will defrost faster. This is my best recollection of my Mom's recipe. I treasure it !!! Enjoy.
Cooking times may vary, depending on your stove and also how crowded the pot is with tamales.
Variation: Another favorite thing to add some great flavor to you masa, is to add about 1 cup of the chile ancho puree while you are mixing it. Adds some great color and flavor to the tamales!!! I chose to use vegetable shortening instead of pork lard years ago when I could not find the pork lard in my area ... true story!
Other recipes by Sonia:
Mexican Red Rice
Cheesy Chorizo Bread
Pork Chile Colorado
Polvorones (Mexican Shortbread Cookies)
Shrimp-Stuffed Little Chiles
Pork Chile Verde
Lemon Pepper Chicken Fajitas
Simply Seasoned Shrimp
Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chip Chimichangas
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