(Picture courtesy of World to Table at flickr.com.)
One traditional food around Christmas time in Texas is tamales. I love them, and usually glom onto some at this time of year. As a matter of fact, I picked up some pork tamales and had them for lunch yesterday.
I have never myself made tamales, but will throw a recipe at you, below. For my part, I have so many excellent mom & pop Tex-Mex operations nearby, it would be silly for me to make the attempt. Others have experience I lack, and more likely to be really good.
If you want to make a stab at this tamale making yourself, here’s some directions.
- Tamale Filling:
- 1 1/4 pounds pork loin
- 1 large onion, halved
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 dried California chile pods
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Tamale Dough:
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup lard
- 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks
- 1 cup sour cream
- Place pork into a Dutch oven with onion and garlic, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 2 hours.
- Use rubber gloves to remove stems and seeds from the chile pods. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Transfer the chiles and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture, stir in salt, and set aside. Shred the cooked meat and mix in one cup of the chile sauce.
- Soak the corn husks in a bowl of warm water. In a large bowl, beat the lard with a tablespoon of the broth until fluffy. Combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt; stir into the lard mixture, adding more broth as necessary to form a spongy dough.
- Spread the dough out over the corn husks to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Place one tablespoon of the meat filling into the center. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center and place in a steamer. Steam for 1 hour.
- Remove tamales from husks and drizzle remaining chile sauce over. Top with sour cream. For a creamy sauce, mix sour cream into the chile sauce.