We can see the development of a culture by examining their food and drink history. Of course, one of the biggest lessons to learn is the similarities shared by different cultures; though the food may be different in appearance, there are similarities in the finished product. A good example of this is the tamale.
The polish have their pierogi, we find different forms of egg roll in Asian culture, and in Italy we find the different variations of ravioli. The way I learned tamales is by wrapping the masa around the filling. The concept is fairly simple in execution. But the steps that go into the process can be a bit more intensive. This is the main reason why the families that I have known to make tamales have made it into a family event. The family gets together and makes a day of it, everyone has their part to play in the preperation.
In the process of making these, I actually spent a bit of time getting the elements together before hand to ease the actual production. In the end, after filming, we made it a family event and everyone here spent time finishing the rest of the tamales.
Pork Tamales Recipe:
1 lb pork shoulder
dry rubbed with salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper
Slow cook at 275 for roughly 3 to 4 hours (till tender) add enough water to come up roughly halfway on the meat
1 can diced tomato (or roughly 1 lb fresh tomatoes)
1 ancho chili (seeds and ribs removed)
3 chili de arbol (seeds removed)
1 clove garlic
1/2 Tablespoon Cumin
1/2 lime juiced
heat sauce till boiling then turn down to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. blend till smooth in a blender
2 cups Masa
2 cups water or pork stock (use the stock from the pork shoulder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
.75 cup pork fat (butter can work to make the difference)
1/4 cup sauce
blend masa, fat, salt, and baking powder then add liquid and sauce mixing thoroughly
Let rest for 20 minutes
Use either banana leaves or corn husks to hold the tamales (the husks need to soak so they can soften)
When making the tamale:
spread the masa on the husk then place some pork in the center adding a bit more sauce. Fold the husk, placing into a steamer. Steam for roughly 20 minutes.
Time for a pint…
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