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Pork Tamales

Traditional Mexican street food: a dense corn dough stuffed with carnitas and steamed in a corn husk
Pork Tamales

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Servings: Makes 25 tamales
Total Time: Active: 1.5 hours Inactive: 7 hours
Recipe by: Rae

Ingredients

Pork Carnitas:
2 pounds pork roast
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP kosher salt
1 TBSP granulated garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cilantro, dried
pinch cinnamon
pinch black pepper
pinch oregano
1/2 cup water
Tamale Dough:
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups Masa dough- (1.75 cup masa harina and 1.25 cups warm water)
1 cup pork braising liquid (add water if not enough pork liquid)
25-30 corn husks- soaked 20 minutes

Directions

For the pork:

1. Mix the dried herbs and spices in a small bowl.

2. Season the pork all over and place in a baking dish. Add the water to the bottom of the dish and then cover with foil.

3. Bake at 250 degrees F for 6 hours.

4. Uncover and pour off the juice (save that juice for the tamale dough) and allow the pork to rest 30 minutes.

5. Finely shred the pork with your fingers or 2 forks.

For the tamale dough:

1. Beat the shortening, salt & baking powder with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, at least 4 minutes.

2. Add the masa dough 1/2 cup at at time until all is incorporated.

3. Slowly drizzle in the braising liquid (and water if needed) until the dough is the consistency of thick brownie batter.

4. Check the dough by dropping a pinch of it into a glass of cold water. If the dough floats it is ready. If the dough sinks beat it longer with the mixer and test again, if needed repeat until it floats.

Tamale construction:

1. Tear 3 husks into long, thin strips to use for tying the tamales closed.

2. Lay out a few (soaked) husks on the counter-top. Place 1/4 cup dough in the center, leave at least 2 inches on the pointed side.

3. Moisten your finger tips and spread the dough into a 4 x 4 inch square, leave at least 2 inches on the pointed side.

4. Take 2 tablespoons of the pork mixture and roll it between your palms to make it a tight mass. Set that pork in the center of the masa square.

5. Fold the long sides of the husk and dough over the filling, bringing the sides together in the middle so that the dough completely encompasses the filling. Then fold both ends over in the same direction. Fold the pointed end under and tie it with a husk strip. Repeat with the rest of the corn husks and dough until all filling is gone.

6. If you have more than 1 inch of husk on the open end of the tamale trim off the excess with scissors.

Cook the tamales:

1. Stand all the tamales, open side up, in steamer basket and steam for 1 hour.

2. Serve them up in the husk with sour cream and hot sauce. Remove the husk before eating.

Notes & Tips

Tamales are also great filled with beef, beans or shredded chicken.




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