Well, down here in central/SouthTX Tamale's on Christmas eve are a beloved tradition. I got all nostalgic tonight as I trimmed and cured a 14lb belly for Christmas day bacon and an 8 lb ham for lunch on Christmas day. We ended up with 4.5lbs of skin and fat to render into lard for the Christmas eve feast. Thought I would share the recipe for any and all of our displaced Texans who can't get good tamales and anyone else who wants something really cool to do with pulled pork. The great thing about tamales is that they are meant to be made and eaten with family and friends so they are the perfect holiday meal. Hope you guys all have a great Christmas!
(sorry no pics yet- I've only been a forum dweller for 9 months and I wasn't taking pictures of all my food last Christmas)
I'll get plenty this year though!
This recipe was adapted from Mexico One Plate at at Time by Rick Bayless
Smoked Pork Tamales
4 cups finely shredded pork shoulder
Red Chili Sauce
2 1/2 oz Dried Ancho Chiles
3 cups Hot Water
1 Large Can Tomato Sauce
2 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 tsp Salt
Stem & seed the chiles, then toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat
Place in a bowl and cover with 3 cups very hot water
Soak for 20 minutes
Puree re-hydrated peppers with 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid, tomato sauce & minced garlic
Add sour cream and adjust salt to taste
*This makes 3 cups of sauce, which is more than you need. Add this sauce to the pork until it is moist, but not too wet. Freeze the extra sauce for up to a year or use it to make enchiladas.
1 ¼ cups (10 oz) Rendered Lard
2 lbs Pork Fat
Ask your butcher to save scraps trimmed from roasts and chops. Don’t use salt pork or bacon fat, as the flavors are too strong.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Cut fat into 1 inch cubes and spread it out in a deep baking dish
Place fat in oven and stir every once in a while until the fat renders into a clear liquid (about 2 hours).
Let lard cool to lukewarm and strain.
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp salt
4 cups (2 lbs) fresh, coarse ground masa for tamales
*or* 3 ½ cups dried masa harina mixed with 2 ¼ cups hot water
1 ½ cup chicken broth
Beat Lard, baking powder, and salt with an electric mixer on medium-high until light in texture (1 minute)
Continue beating as you add masa (fresh or reconstituted) in three additions.
Reduce speed to medium-low and add broth. Continue beating another minute or so, until a ½ tsp dollop of the batter floats in a cup of cold water (if it floats, the tamales will be tender and light).
Beat in enough of the remaining broth to give the mixture the consistency of cake batter (it should hold its shape in a spoon).
Taste and add extra salt if you think it needs it.
You can make this ahead of time, refrigerate for several days, then re-beat with a little broth or water to bring the batter to the soft consistency it had before.
8 oz package Dried Corn Husks
soak in hot water for 3-5 hours until pliable
Choose 24 of the largest and most pliable husks and pat dry, then wrap in a damp dish cloth.
Lay out one of your chosen corn husks with the tapered end towards you
Spread ¼ cup batter into about a 4 inch SQUARE in the middle of your husk. Leave at least a 1 ½ inch border at the tapered end.
Spoon ⅛ cup (2 Tbsp) filling down the center of the batter.
Pick up the 2 long sides of the corn husk and bring them together (this will cause the batter to surround the filling).
Roll the excess corn husk around the tamal and fold the 1 ½ inch tapered portion over to close the end, leaving the top open.
Once you’ve made 6 tamales, stack them together and tie them loosely with a string.
Pour an inch or so of water in a steamer and heat to boiling
Stand your tamales on their folded ends in the steamer
Don’t pack the steamer too tightly, because they need room to expand
Steam at a constant medium heat for 1 ¼ hours, watching to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate. Add more water as needed.
Tamales are done when husks pull away from the masa easily.
For the best textured tamales, let them cool completely and re-steam for 15 minutes before serving. However, we usually make these with friends and are a couple beers in and pretty hungry by this point. They are delicious either way.