Dried cornhusks, soaked in hot water at least 2 hours (and up to 1 day) prior to using
3 ounces dried ancho chiles, wiped clean, stemmed and seeded
3 ounces dried guajillo chiles, wiped clean, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferable Mexican variety)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or freshly rendered lard
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt)
1 1/2 pounds slow-roasted pork shoulder roast, shredded
- Toast dried chiles on all sides on a large flat griddle until they begin to turn color and release their aroma, about 2 minutes. Place in a saucepan of simmering water for about 10 minutes or until chiles soften. Drain.
- Place drained chiles, oregano and 1 cup of fresh water in the bowl of a blender and puree until smooth (add additional water if necessary). Strain chile mixture through a strainer or sieve, pushing on solids and scraping bottom to extract puree. Add a little water through strainer to extract as much of the puree as possible.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add flour and cook until golden in color. Add chile mixture and reduce heat to low. Cook at low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Add shredded pork and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to adjust seasoning if needed.
1 cup cold freshly rendered lard
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 pounds masa for tortillas* (not masa preparada)
1 cup chicken broth, divided
- Add lard, baking powder and salt to bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer and beat at high speed until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Stop mixer and add masa. Beat at high speed for 3 more minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down sides. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and beat 3 more minutes at high speed. Stop mixer, scrape down sides and add remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth. Mix at high speed for 3 more minutes.
- Place a soft, cornhusk on your work surface (you’ll want to use cornhusks that are at least about 5-inches wide). Spread about 1/3 cup masa in center of husk, leaving about 2 inches clear on all sides. Place about 1/4 cup (or less for smaller appetizer tamales as shown here) in center of masa. Don’t overstuff tamales as they will expand as they cook.
- Fold husk over filling lengthwise and roll to resemble a cigar shape. Tie ends closed with strips of cornhusk, kitchen string or florist’s raffia.
- Place tamales on the rack in a tamale steamer with at least 1-inch water in the bottom (you’ll want enough water so the pot doesn’t go dry while you are steaming, but not so much that your tamales are sitting in water). Do not pack tamales tightly in the steamer, rather stack them randomly so the steam can circulate around them. Once all tamales are in the steamer, cover tightly with lid and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, without removing cover, for about 1 hour for appetizer size tamales. (Note: Add a couple of coins to the bottom of your steamer pot. You will hear the coins rattling as the water boils. If you stop hearing them, add more water to your steamer pot.) To check to see if the tamales are done, remove one tamale from pot and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Unwrap the cornhusk wrapper. The masa should not stick to the husk and should pull away easily. If masa sticks, continue cooking and check them every 10 to 15 minutes. If tamales are done, remove them from steamer and allow them to cool on a sheet tray for at least 10 minutes.
- At this point the tamales can be consumed, refrigerated or frozen. Reheat in a 400-degree oven until heated through (about 30 minutes) or microwave individual tamales wrapped in a damp paper towel on defrost until heated through.
* Masa for tortillas can be found at most Mexican markets or ordered through tortillerias.
©2011 Bob Muschitz, All rights reserved.