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TK's Tamales - 12/17/2005
Recipe Number: 1135640599
Contributor: Tommy Kendall
Rating: Recipe Unrated
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Serves: 9-10 Dozen
Calories Per Serving: Lots
Preparation Time: 8 Hours Including Cleanup (if preparing alone)
Difficulty: Difficult
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Recipe is Unreviewed
13.5 pounds Boneless Pork Butt
2 cups Pork Butt juices
1 28-ounce can Whole Green Chiles
8 Medium Potatoes
16 cups Maseca Masa Mix for Tamales: comes in light brown bag, not the white bag
16 cups warm Water (1 gallon)
12 Chicken Bouillon Cubes (dissolved in 16 cups warm water above)
8 teaspoons Baking Powder
8 teaspoons Salt
5 cups melted Manteca/Lard (I used approx 2 cups bacon grease and the remainder manteca)
Ground Comino (Cumin), Salt, and Pepper (to taste)
1/2 bulb Garlic (approx 8 cloves) – sliced thinly
12 Assorted Dried Chiles (new mexico, ancho, pasilla, etc.), stemmed and seeded
4 tablespoons Oil (vegetable or whatever)
1 1/2 pounds or so of dried corn husks (hojas)
Cooking Instructions:
While pork is still partially frozen, cut into 1/2 - 5/8” cubes. Add to mixing bowl, sprinkle generously with ground comino, add salt and pepper to taste. Preheat a large stock pot with 2 tablespoons oil. Add pork butt and cook down until pork is ‘almost’ fork tender. Pour off almost all liquid but retain approximately 2 cups.

Peel potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes and boil until ‘almost’ fork tender. Strain and immediately rinse with cold water.

Cut green chiles into approx. 1/2" strips.

Separate the cornhusks and soak for an hour or more in HOT water. When ready to roll your tamales, remove from water, squeeze dry, and place on a towel.

In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add garlic and dried chiles. Stir until toasted well.

In a small sauce pan, bring the 2 cups of reserved pork butt juices to a boil. Add toasted garlic and dried chiles. Continue boiling for approximately 5 minutes. Let cool considerably then add this mixture to a blender or food processor, adding salt and maybe even a pinch of sugar to taste. Puree until smooth. This is your red chile – it should be somewhat thick like a milkshake.

Fold your potatoes and red chile mixture into your cooked pork. This is your tamale filling!!

Combine your masa mix, baking powder, and salt in an enormous mixing bowl (I used a double size chafing dish holder). Slowly pour in your gallon of water with dissolved bouillon and the manteca. Blend together using a mixer until your masa has a nice light consistency.

Note: There is a good reason that I use the powdered masa mix. I have purchased prepared masa on several occasions and have had varying results from piss-poor to good. I have also learned that many markets that sell prepared masa are not using ground corn – they are simply using the same stuff I am to prepare their masa. The most important reason however is because I combine bacon grease with the manteca and you cannot combine bacon grease with store bought prepared masa. WHY? – because it’s already prepared. Bacon grease gives your masa a wonderful taste.

Lay a cornhusk smooth size up (yes there is a smooth side) on a large cutting board. You might need to pat dry your cornhusk on a towel if too wet still. Using a pastry spreader, spread a thin layer of masa across the sides, up to the top, but not too far down to the bottom (maybe go 5-6 inches from top to bottom). Spoon some tamale filling over the masa, and add a strip of green chile. Fold either the left or right side (I’m a southpaw) of the cornhusk over the tamale filling. Fold the bottom of the cornhusk upwards over the roll you just made, then continue rolling the tamale to the left or right in the direction you first started. Set aside and roll another 100 or so!!

Arrange your rolled tamales into your steamer pot. For 10 dozen tamales I used one 20 quart and one 16 quart steamer pots. I arrange mine standing up on end. Others lay them flat in a crisscross pattern. Steam for approximately 2.5 hours on medium high heat. Let rest and serve. Whatever you do, make sure you have enough water in your steamer. Water to just below the rack should allow you to steam the duration without adding water.

Additional Comments:
During the tenure of this group and more commonly during the holidays, a tamale thread or two appears. I have made tamales for 12 years. That doesn't make me an expert because 12 years probably only equates to 18 batches. I have received however very good compliments for my work. At the request of Arlin, Aeynghus, and other brothers, I compiled my recipe for this years tamale cook and took a fairly comprehensive photo sequence with captions. Whether it be for your viewing or educational pleasure... enjoy:

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