It's that time of year again! Time to make the Christmas tamales. I will give you a detailed How-To
for the meat, the masa, the prepared tapas (cornhusks), the fillings and cooking. I made these today, Saturday. If you have any questions, just let me know. Puerco en Chile Colorado (Red Chile Pork)Ingredients
This recipe makes enough meat filling for 90-120 tamales. Leftovers can be frozen and eaten later in tortas, tacos or burritos.Pork
This is best made the night before.
- 10 lbs. Pork picnic shoulder (with bone and fatty skin still on it)
- 4 lbs. Pork neckbones (espinazo de puerco)
- 2 tbs. Ground cumin
- 2 tbs. Minced garlic
- 2 cups La Lechonera Naranja Agria or 1 beer of choice or 1 cup of vinegar
- 8 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
- 2 large-sized yellow onions, sliced
- 2 tbs. salt
- 1 tbs. pepper
- Dutch oven pot, or any heavy large stew pot
When ordering the pork at the meat counter, make sure to have them cut the pork shoulder in medium-sized pieces. The pork neckbones already come in manageable-sized pieces.
Add salt, pepper, La Lechonera (or other marinade liquid of choice above), cumin and garlic.
Add sufficient water to cover the pork meat. Bring to boil at high-heat, then lower to medium-high and cover for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, uncover and carefully remove the fatty oil that has separated from the broth and sitting at the top of the pot. Use a deep soup spoon to scoop this fat out. Reserve 2 cups of broth for the red chile sauce mix. Add sliced tomatoes and onions to the stewing pork. Mix. By this time you should notice that the meat is falling off the bone. The pork neckbones have small bones that you will have to remove by hand once it has done cooking.
Keep simmering while you make the red chile sauce.Chile Colorado (Red Chile Sauce)
This can be made in two ways: the original-homemade
-way or the I-don't-have-time
-way.Original Homemade Way
- 2 tbs. Pepita natural (shelled natural pumpkin seeds)
- 2 tbs. Ajonjoli natural (sesame seeds)
- 10 Clavo entero (whole cloves)
- 1 tbs. Oregano
- 12 Laurel leaves
- 10 Fresh garlic cloves
- 4 Dried Guajillo peppers (stem removed, cut in pieces)
- 3 Dried Ancho peppers (stem removed, cut in pieces)
- 3 Dried California peppers (stem removed, cut in pieces)
- Dry skillet
Heat skillet on medium-high until it smokes lightly. Add all the above ingredients. Stirring frequently. Toast the spices and peppers. About 20 minutes.
Place toasted seasonings into a blender glass and the 2 cups of hot pork broth you saved from earlier. Let sit for 40-60 minutes. Blend well. Add to the stewing pork. Simmer for an hour or two. I-Don't-Have-Time-Way
- 1- 6lb can of Enchilada sauce or mild red chile sauce (usually La Victoria)
- 10 Fresh garlic cloves
- 1 small packet of Paprika powder
- 1 regular-sized package of ground California chile powder
- 1 regular-sized package of ground Ancho (or Pasilla or Guajillo) chile powder
- 2 tbs. Ground cumin
- 1 tbs. of Salt
Remove half the broth from the stewing pork, save 2 cups. Add the canned sauce to the pot, stir carefully. Place the 2 cups of broth in the blender and all the rest of the seasonings. Blend well. Add into the stewing pork. Stir well. Simmer for an hour or two.
I always make the pork (chicken or beef) the night before. I let it cook for up to 5 hours (chicken is done within 2.5 hours/beef within 3-4 hours) to allow it to absorb the seasoning flavors and become shredded. Once it has cooled, I remove all the bones with a spoon and use a clean hand to remove the smaller ones. Masa
I prepare the Masa the night before as well. It gives it time to leven (get spongy) so it can be easily spread on the tapas (cornhusks).
This will be per 10lbs
- 17-20lbs of prepared Masa (you can buy it already prepared at any hispanic grocery like Northgate or La Superior)
- 2-3lb block of Lard (manteca de puerco)
- 2tbs. Baking powder (I use the Royal brand)
- 1 tbs. Salt
. Place the prepared Masa in a large bowl. 10lbs will fit into a big salad bowl. You will need enough space in it to be able to mix it by hand. Melt 1lb of Lard on medium-high heat. Once it is completely melted, let it cool enough so you are able to touch it with your fingers and not burn yourself. Takes about 15 minutes.
Poke holes in the Masa with your fingers. Sprinkle 1tbs. of Baking powder all over it. Dash half a tablespoon of the salt all over it. Add a cup of the melted lard to it slowly. Mix gently with your hands until it is well blended. WEAR AN APRON so as not to stain your clothing with the lard or masa
. You will keep adding more of the melted lard until your hands come away with none of the Masa stuck to them. You know you have mixed enough Lard (you might need to melt more) into it when you can pat it with your hands and you have *NO*
Masa sticking to your fingers or hands. Let it sit overnight.Day of the Tamale MakingCornhusks
- 2 bags of large dried cornhusks
- Hot water (Use a big pot to heat it)
In the morning you will need to soak the dried cornhusks in hot water. I do this in the sink with something heavy on top of them. The cornhusks should have softened in the hot water for atleast 3 hours prior to spreading the masa on them. Filling
Making & Filling the Tapas (Cornhusks)
- 6 medium potatoes, cut them as if you were making shoestring fries
- 5 carrots, cut in thin shoestring fries
- 3 zuchinnis (calabasitas), cut in thin shoestring fries
- 1 can of sliced Jalapeños, you will probably need to cut them in thinner slices
- 1 large container of Spanish olives, pimento-stuffed and small in size
- 2 cups of raisins
- 2 cans of peas
- 2 cans of garbanzo beans
- 2 cans of french-cut-style green beans
Separate each cornhusk individually from the pile you had softening in the water. Grab a stack of them and squeeze the water from them. Place on a towel. To spread the masa on them you will need the following:
- A flat dinner plate or dinner mat
- A soup spoon (metal, or a slightly bigger one that looks like a serving spoon)
- Towels, used to wipe your hands or area around you
Place a spoonful or two of masa on the plate/mat. Put a cornhusk atop the masa, it will keep it from moving around. Put 2-3 spoonfuls of the masa on the cornhusk and with the bottom rounded edge of the spoon you will spread the masa. You will keep 1.5 inches bare at the top and atleast 1.5 inches bare at the bottom. You do not want to spread too much masa on it since it will "rise" when you steam it. If you lift up the cornhusk and you can see thru the masa and husk, it is spread too thinly. Place to the side and start on another cornhusk.
Once you have enough ready cornhusks, you will place the fillings in the center of it (see below).
Add a spoonful of pork filling on top. Join the edges and roll closed. Squeeze the ends to tighten them so they are easier to tie.
Tie the ends with long pieces of torn cornhusks (see below).Cooking the Tamales
- Big tamale or steam pot
- 2 sheets of aluminum foil
- Leftover, torn cornhusks
Place the foil at the bottom of the pot. Layer about 12-15 cornhusks above the foil. Add 5 cups of water. Turn the heat up to high until the water starts boiling and you can see steam rising. Gently place the tamales in layers in the pot. Do NOT press down to fit more. Once you have filled up the pot, make sure you can hear the water boiling. Place another layer of cornhusks above the tamales, then tuck in a wet kitchen towel atop the husks and tamales all around the edges to keep the steam inside. Cover with a tight lid. Turn the heat down to medium-high and steam for 2 hours. After 2 hours you will turn the heat down to medium. Steam for 1 more hour.
After 3 hours, you will uncover the steaming pot carefully. You do not want to burn yourself. Remove a tamale from the top, cover the steaming pot again. Allow the tamale to cool for a few minutes. Remove the husk. If after it has cooled you notice the masa is still a bit "raw" or that it sticks slightly to the husk, steam the tamales for another full hour. Make sure to add another cup of water at the edge of the pot. You do not want to let the water dry out or you will have burnt-tasting tamales. Tamales are done when you can peel the husk off with ease. This is usually after 3-4 hours of consistent steaming. You do not want to be removing the lid every hour and letting the steam escape.
Once the tamale is fully cooked. Let cool for 20-30 minutes in the pot before eating.
This is a "regular" Americanized tamale sold at stores like Albertson's or Ralphs, or by vendors at the street corners...
This is a traditional "cinco" tamale...
**P.S. Insei made me post this.**