Sunday Food: Tamales

1:06 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

Tamales

(Picture courtesy of World to Table at flickr.com.)

Season’s Eatings!

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
    Directions:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.