The Daring Kitchen: Pork Tamales

Great challenge this month! I love Mexican food and I love making new dishes so this January challenge at the Daring Kitchen was wonderful. This was my very first time making tamales, not only that, this was also my very first time trying tamales. Fortunately, everything went smoothly and tamales tasted great!!  I had a wonderful helper!  Yes, my little man helped me make tamales (although he was done after masa).

My sous-chef!
I want to give a shout-out to our host this month,   Maranda over at Jolts & Jollies.
I am a  stay at home mommy to 2 kiddos and an Army Brat turned Army Wife. My husband and I met in El Paso, Texas, which is right on the border of Mexico and New Mexico. Needless to say, Mexican food is at your fingertips throughout the city and beyond.
I LOVE Mexican food. There is something about tacos, enchiladas, green chiles and tamales that really do it for me. When my husband and I moved to Upstate New York we found that our beloved Mexican food was hard to come by. We met a similar culinary devastation when we moved to the Middle of Nowhere Missouri as well.
Luckily, we were able to find a small place in Upstate New York that had decent Mexican food. I was also able to find a lady selling tamales at the Farmer’s Market in Missouri.
One of our family traditions is to celebrate the new year with delicious tamaleI thought it was high time to learn how to make them myself. And since I hate to s. Since the Army keeps moving us to places where tamales are difficult to find, do things by myself, I figured that I would challenge you to hone your tamale making skills with me!
Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. Tamale is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa (a starchy corn based dough), which is steamed or boiled in a corn husk or banana leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheese, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste. Tamale making is usually a social event with the women in Hispanic families gathering together to spend an afternoon making dozens and dozens of tamales. 

Prep time: 4 hours one day(pork), 3 hours second day
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Makes:  about 20 tamales. If you plan to make more…double or triple the recipe.

2-3 lbs of pork roast
-Prepare the meat ahead of time!! Try to make the meat the day before or you will be cooking all day. To cook the meat in a large pot of water with an onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2-3 teaspoons of chili powder, salt and pepper. Save the juice from cookies the pork for the masa. Cook for 4 hours minimum. When the meat is done cut the meat and shred it using two forks.

Corn Husks:
20 or so Corn husks (just in case some break up or you make small tamale)
-Soak the corn husks in a sink full of warm water for about 2 hours. Be careful when you separate them.

Ingredients Masa:
3 cups of masa harina
3/4 cup lard (shortening)
2 1/4 cups of meat stock from pork
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin

Ingredients Cooked Pork:
Shredded pork that you cooked the night before
1 tbs corn oil
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
salt to taste

1. Masa: In a large bowl, mix the masa harina, cumin, chili powder and salt until combined. Add the lard and the stock. Mix well by hand until well combined.

2. Pork: Heat oil int he saute pan. Add your shredded pork, grated garlic, chili powder, cumin and season with salt. Saute for just a few minutes, mixing well.  Take off heat.

3. Shake the water off the husks. Carefully separate them. Lay the individual husks on the towel and plot the excess water.

4. Spread masa about 1/8 inch thick on corn husk with your hands (leaving about 1/2 inch border along the right side and 2 inch border at the top of husk, the skinny end). Use about 2 Tbsp. of shredded meat to top  the masa.

5. Starting on the left side (the side where the Masa dough goes all the way to the edge), roll the tamale all the way to the right edge. Fold the top of the husk over like an envelope and lay tamal on the steamer with the fold on the under side. Roll the next one the same until all your masa or meat are gone.

*If you will be steaming the tamales laying down, then its not necessary to tie them but if you will be steaming them standing up, then please do tie each tamal so they don’t unfold.
6. Steam your tamales for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how tightly they are packed in the steamer and how many you have.

Gather your family and Enjoy!!!

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  1. These look delicious – the pork looks falling-apart tender – the best way! Loving your little sous chef too – getting him started young!

  2. Your tamales look perfect, I think pork is my favorite kind of tamale. You have quite the handsome sous chef!

  3. They look great! Love the cumin in the dough too. Aren’t little kitchen helpers great?

  4. These look great! Nice to have success on first try. Your masa looks darker. Do you have some whole grain in it?

  5. Your tamales look delicious and I love having a sous chef to help. Mine is now 12 and loves to cook.

  6. I have a special affection for my sous chef as well, even though he rarely makes it past the first 15 minutes of the task…I am not counting dessert recipes of course. Great job! The tamales look muy delicioso!

  7. These look great! Can I hire your little helper next time I want to make tamales?

  8. Beautiful tamales! I love the idea of flavouring the masa, and the shredded pork looks so perfectly tender. I think I definitely missed a trick not using pork in mine. Next time, next time.

    Your little helper looks so focused, like all the best chefs!

  9. These look wonderful and you made them like a pro! Seasoning the masa is a great idea–I’ll have to try that next time.

  10. Love the sous chef!! Wonderful and delicious looking tamales.

  11. Your filling looks super yummy! Great job!

  12. Your masa looks nice an rich and a great colour.

  13. Mmm it’s been way too long since I’ve made tamales! Thanks for the inspiration; these look amazing.

  14. What a cute little sous chef! :-) I’m glad you enjoyed the tamales!

  15. You have the cutest sous chef :)
    Great job on this month’s challenge

  16. The pork tamales look wonderful and what an amazing little helper!

  17. These tamales look so yummy! Thank you so much for linking up to “Strut Your Stuff Saturday.” We hope you’ll be back to share more ideas with us next Saturday. -The Sisters

  18. Yum! These look and sound WONDERFUL! Thanks for linking up to the Tuesday Talent Show! I hope to see you again next Tuesday!
    Chef in Training

  19. Your tamales look wonderful! Great job!

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