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The thought of making tamales can be intimidating to some people but it really isn’t as difficult as it seems. The key is to spread the process out over two days. I promise this makes everything a whole lot easier. My favorite are the pork tamales but I love all tamales. Making tamales yourself is definitely the way to go. Many times when you buy them they will only have a tiny bit of meat inside and lot of masa. I think that’s a huge rip off! My recipe includes plenty of meat filling and it makes dozens of tamales. I have included some photos that should make things easier if you have never made tamales before.
Day 1: Make the meat and chile sauce
Put the meat, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 4 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
While meat is cooking toast the chiles on both sides in a skillet over medium heat. This will take less than a minute.
Transfer chiles, onion and garlic to a pot with about 6-7 cups of warm water and simmer on medium low for about 10 min or until chiles are soft.
Transfer the chiles, onion and garlic to a blender with 5 cups of the water and blend for 1 min. Do this in two batches.
Add 1 1/2 tbsp of oil to a pot over medium heat. When oil is hot strain the chile sauce into the pot.
Simmer over medium low heat for about 15 min. Salt to taste. Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce for the masa.
When the meat is done remove it from stockpot and shred with two forks making sure to discard any fat. Or use your hands when meat is cool. When the broth is cool strain it and store it in the refrigerator.
Mix together the shredded meat and the chile sauce. Don’t forget to reserve a 1/2 cup of the sauce which we will use for the masa.
Store the meat and the rest of the sauce in the refrigerator
Day 2: Make the tamales
Put the corn husks in a large pot with hot water and bring to a boil turn the heat off and let the husks soak for at least one hour.
Take the broth out from the refrigerator and skim off the fat
In a large bowl mix together the Maseca, baking powder and salt. Then add 5 cups of the broth and the 1/2 cup of reserved sauce and mix well either with a spatula or your hands.
In another bowl beat the 2 cups of lard with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes.
Add the Maseca and broth mixture to the lard and continue to beat for about 3 minutes more.
After the husks have soaked shake off the excess water. Take 1 husk and spread a heaping tablespoon of masa over it. Then add a heaping tablespoon of the pork filling on it.
Fold the sides of the husk then fold the bottom part of the husk up. You can tie the tamales with long stringy pieces of the husks to make them more secure but this is optional.
Repeat the above step until all the masa and pork filling are gone. Fill a tamale steamer with enough water so that it wont run out while steaming but not too much that it gets the tamales wet. The water shouldn’t come through the holes of the steamer insert.
Put all of the tamales in the steamer standing up. Bring the water in the steamer to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 1 hour. If the masa is mushy and is still sticking to the husks steam for an additional 15-20 min.
Enjoy your tamales with a glass of your favorite agua fresca. You can get your free copy of my eBook of aguas frescas when you subscribe to my newsletter here.