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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pork and Cheese Tamales

When I was in school in Boulder, I worked at the Africa Travel Center one summer. Going to the farmers market for lunch was often a highlight of my day. My favorite stop - the tamale cart. I'd never had them growing up, I didn't even know what they were! And since then, I don't really order them if I'm out for dinner and never thought that I could make them myself. But they're EASY! They just take a little bit of time. Our local grocery store sells the corn husks, Whole Foods also has them too. And all you need is masa - a corn flour that's usually sold in the Mexican section of the grocery store (or also available at Whole Foods). These are best using pulled pork - a great way to use leftover carnitas. I like to fill them with extra cheese. This recipe makes a load of them. Steam them all and freeze the leftovers. I often wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Take them out of the plastic and microwave for 1 minute and you have a great lunch or snack.

24 dried cornhusks

2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups corn
3 3/4 cups masa harina
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 cups shredded pork, with salsa mixed in
1 package of shredded cheese - mexican combo or chedder and jack

1. Place the corn husks in a large pot of boiling water, cover and remove from heat.

2. Combine the broth and the corn in a blender and blend until still a little chunky.

3. In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, baking powder, and salt. Add the broth mixture and the butter and stir until a dough forms.

4. Drain the husks but leave them in the pot with the lid on.

5. To assemble the tamales, take one husk from the pot and cut a thin strip from one edge (1/4 inch). Place the husk in front of you so that the cone end is away from you. Take a couple tablespoons of dough (about the size of a meatball) and roll it gently in your palms. Press the dough into the husk so that it's pressed out into a square on the flat edge of the husk, leaving an inch or so on each side without dough. You don't want it too thick. Place a couple spoons of the pork and a bit of cheese in the middle of the dough so that it extends the length of the dough vertically. Roll the dough so that it covers the filling and the husk forms a tube. Fold up the bottom of the husk twice and tie down with the strip you cut before making the tamale. The other end should be open.

5. When all of your tamales are rolled, put enough water in a large pot with a steamer so that the water reaches just below the steamer. Place the tamales vertically (open side UP!) on the steamer so that they're snug standing in the pot.

6. Cover and bring the water to a boil and then reduce heat so that the water is simmering and steaming the tamales. Steam for 45 minutes - but make sure your water doesn't completely evaporate. Keep the temperature lowish.

That's it!

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1 comment:

  1. I'm assuming you are bringing these to Xmas Eve because they are so easy. Yum!