Hello to everyone! Because of some health problems, and some personal stuff I haven’t been able to blog for a while. I have been cooking up a storm here in Northern California and would like to share a tamale journey with you. Tamales are not for beginner cooks as they have many steps for making them and they take quite a bit of time. They are great to freeze, and can be refrigerated up to a week. Serve them to friends for rave reviews.

Let’s Make Tamales!
You will need a large kettle type steamer for these south of the border treats. A large covered pot with a rack in the bottom will work and you will need a large covered roasting pan.

Ingredients for cooking pork roast:

1 large pork roast
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large dry Modelo Chili
5 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

We will cook a pork roast for the filling first, and I like to make it the day before I make the tamales so the process is broken into two days.
A large roast can be made and some of the meat separated and frozen for future recipes. This is how I do it.

Wash a large pork roast (shoulder cut or often called “Pork Butt”) in the clean sink with cold water and put it in a large roasting pan that has 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom. Set on stove and brown on both sides after salting and peppering well.

After browning hard on each side put two cups water in around meat. Put one diced onion in the water and one dry Modelo chili into the water. Add 5 cloves garlic, diced to water around the meat.

Cover and bake in 350’ oven for several hours (I used a 7 lb. roast and baked it for 5 hours, thus the reason I do the meat the day before). A roast needs to cook until it is very tender and falls away from the bone. When meat is cooked through let the roast cool on the stove for an hour, cover and set in refrigerator overnight.

When meat is cold remove some of the hard fat that will be around the sides of the pan but none of the gelatin. Now our meat is ready to be chopped and shredded a little for use.

Tamale Filling

If you have made a very large roast, you won’t need all the meat unless you are making over 500 tamales! Freeze what meat you do not use at this point to have in the future for other recipes.

6 cups cooked, chopped and shredded pork roast meat
½ cup black beans, drained
½ cup cut corn, drained
½ onion finely diced
1 small can Ortega chopped chilies
3 or 4 Chipotle chilies w/small amount adobo sauce, chopped
4 cloves garlic finely diced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
1 package corn husks for tamales (or two depending on how many are to be made).

Now put all (except corn husks) into large pot on stove and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring to mix all ingredients well.

Cool and cover and set in refrigerator until needed for stuffing tamales.

Now soak corn husks in warm water for ten minutes, dry on paper towels, and cut ties.

Next we will make Masa Dough to coat the husks with.
Masa Dough for Meat Tamales

1-1/3 cups lard
4 cups Masa Harina (dehydrated corn flour)
2 teaspoons salt
2-2/3 cups warm water or meat or poultry broth

Whip the lard in mixer until very light and fluffy.

Blend in the masa flour, salt, and warm water or broth until the dough holds together well.

Cover with a damp cloth and keep cool until ready to use. Makes six cups, enough for about thirty small tamales or 12 to 15 large tamales.

If you want to make more dough do not double recipe but make a new one as small batches work better for this type of dough.

Filling and Folding Tamales

Use soaked and cleaned corn husks (larger ones for the larger tamales). Lay the husk flat on working surface. For each tamale use about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the Masa Dough. Spread dough on the husk leaving a 1 inch seam around the outside of the husk where no dough will be spread. Use your fingers to spread the dough across the husk leaving no openings for the filling to leak through.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of warmed filling into center of dough. Now fold like a cigar twisting the ends to tie with ties made with corn husk or cotton string.

When folding tamale make sure the dough comes together and creates a seam.

Place tamales in steamer pot and arrange them so steam can circulate around each.

Set steamer on stove and steam for about 1 and ½ hours or until the husk pulls easily away from the dough. While the tamales are steaming you will have time to make the chili gravy.

Chili Gravy

1 2oz. pkg. Dried Modolo Chilies
2 cups water
1 pkg. pork gravy made to pkg. directions

Directions: Soak chilies in water for one hour. Then put them into a screen sieve and use a pestle to scrape the soft insides of the chilies into a bowl. You can use a little of the water used to soak the chilies in to help with this process. (About ½ cup).

Now set the chili paste you made aside and make the pork gravy. After gravy is thick and bubbly add the chili paste to it and whisk until smooth and thick.

Pour over cooked tamales. Serve hot and enjoy!.

Well, that was a lot of work but when you taste the Tamales, you will understand why people take the time to make them!

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