This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have 9 and 3 year old boys (thanks to modern medicine) and we are enjoying our blessed life as parents ♥ In the summer of 2016 we took another huge step and moved across the country from Oklahoma to New York! This blog is about life and everything in between

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Homemade Pork Tamales

I grew up in the Southwest where you can find great Mexican food on every corner. Unfortunately that's not the case in Buffalo, NY and especially not in my little town of Albion! Being the adventurous home cook that I am, my goal was to teach myself how to make tamales from scratch. Today I achieved that goal!!

I watched many different videos and saw many different techniques. What I learned is that everyone does them differently, and no one measures, ha! I just gleaned what I liked from the videos and did my own thing.

I saw several varieties of chilis being used, so I looked up their spiciness and chose the most mild one. For the meat I used a 6lb pork shoulder butt. You also need corn husks and masa!

I started my pork in a large pot with a chopped onion, half a head of peeled garlic, a bay leaf, some oregano, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, and enough water to cover  the meat. I put a lid on and let it simmer for about 3hr.

At the same time, I started my corn husks soaking in hot water in a large bowl with a heavy dish on top to keep them submerged.

After my meat was cooked and very tender, I turned off the heat and let it start to cool. Then I started on the chili sauce. I stemmed and seeded all the dried chilis and started them in a pan of simmering water with a chopped onion, and a peeled half head of garlic. I added a bit more water while cooking to keep the chilis submerged until they were tender, then I let the liquid start reducing.

As the chilis were cooking I started on the meat. I strained the broth and reserved it. I threw out the boiled veggies and the fat on the meat, then shredded the pork.

Once the chilis were soft and most liquid evaporated, I used my immersion blender to puree the sauce. I saved half a cup of sauce and added the rest to my shredded pork, as well as about 3tbs cumin and 1tbs paprika.

Then I enlisted the help of my son for the masa! Purely estimating, I used about 4 cups masa and a tablespoon of baking powder. I added my reserved chili sauce and some salt, as well as about 3/4 cup oil (I chose not to use lard). Then as he mixed by hand, I added the reserved broth until the masa reached a pasty consistency.

Finally it is time for assembly! Line up all of your prepped ingredients and start filling the wraps. As for technique, you really just have to watch it a few times on a video to see how to do it. You smear a layer of masa onto the bottom half of the husk, then a couple tablespoons of the meat filling.

Then you fold the sides over and fold the top down, leaving one side open.

As you make a huge stack of these, you get your large steamer pot ready to go and start lining up the tamales!

Put a lid on and steam for one hour. Yum!!!

I was very happy with the flavor of these, and my family loved them as well. Some of mine didn't unwrap very cleanly, so I'll have to tweak some techniques to figure out why. I may need to use a thicker layer of masa, or add more oil to the batter.

Good luck in your adventures!!


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