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Pork Tamales, a Tasty Christmas Tradition

Assembling the pork tamales

Assembling the pork tamales

Wilson Christmas Card 2014

Wilson Christmas Card 2014

Wilson Christmas Card 2013

Wilson Christmas Card 2013

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas! I must admit  that I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself right now. On my front table I have two years worth of Christmas cards addressed, sealed and stamped and ready to be mailed. Before New Year’s Day even. Why two years worth? Well, of course, I had last year’s cards done, I just never got around to mailing them. And, a funny story about last year’s card….after I received them from the printer, Mr. D. took a look at them and said, “Mom, that’s the same picture on last year’s card”. And, so it was…..

For years I would make pork tamales for Christmas Eve with my family, but stopped a few years ago.  This year I resurrected the tamales which were met with great acclaim from the family. Honestly, anything made with roasted pork is supremely tasty. Tamales are not that hard to make, at least not for me since I don’t worry too much about the packaging. I’m sure veteran tamale makers would be appalled by my tamales…but, they taste good! I don’t really follow a recipe to cook the pork (see below)- I cook it in the crock pot with Mexican spices I like until it is tenderly falling apart.  I place the cooked pork in prepared masa dough in the husk and fold it up. I used to meticulously tie the prepared tamales up, but now I fold around the filling and fold up the bottom & friction fit them in an upright position in a steamer. Not pretty, but still delicious….

Tasty Pork Tamales

Yield: approximately 35-40 tamales

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pound pork boston butt or shoulder roast
  • (1) 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained, but save the juice
  • (2) 7 oz. cans diced green chiles, drained
  • kosher salt
  • garlic salt
  • ground cumin
  • 8 cups corn masa ( I used maseca brand)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. salt or more to taste
  • 2-2/3 cup shortening or lard
  • dried corn husks (I used El Guapo)

Cooking Directions:

  1. Rub the pork roast generously all over with the kosher salt, garlic salt and cumin. Place in a crockpot with the chiles and pineapple. I add about 1/2 cup of the pineapple juice back in with the pork. Cook on high for about 5 hours or until extremely tender. Remove the pork from the juice and let cool until you can handle it. Shred it discarding the excess fat, keeping the chiles and some pineapple in. Add a little juice back in if it is at all dry.
  2. To save time you can do this the day before and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the tamales the next day.
  3. Soak the corn husks in water to soften as you prepare the masa.
  4. Beat the shortening until light and fluffy.
  5. Mix together the masa, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the broth and mix together thoroughly.
  6. Add the masa mixture to the shortening and continue beating until the batter is smooth and sticky.
  7. Lay softened corn husk on work surface with the pointed end closest to you. I like to do assembly line style, so I line all of the husks up at one time. Spread about a 1/4 cup of prepared masa into a 4 inch square on the husk- leave at least 1 1/2 inch border at the pointed end and a 1 inch border on the other 3 sides. Place some filling (approximately 2-3 heaping tablespoons) on top of the masa in the middle. Close the husk up, folding left to right inwards toward the center so the masa covers the filling. If the husk is too small, add another husk to your wrapping. Fold the bottom pointed end up. Loosely tie a string around the middle to secure. (I skip the string part).
  8. Stand the tamales in the steamer insert, open end up. As you form the rest of the tamales, pack them into the steamer, but give them a little room to expand.
  9. Fill the bottom of a deep stock pot with a couple of inches of water and boil. Place the steamer insert in the pot. Cover the top with a damp kitchen towel. Steam until the husk peels away easily from the filling - anywhere from 1 1/4 to 2 hours. Add more boiling water to the pot when necessary.
  10. Devour!

 

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