Pork Tamales

Yields 20 to 22 tamales


Pork Filling:
2½ pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
7 garlic cloves
2 quarts warm water
½ bunch cilantro, rinsed
½ parsley, rinsed
8 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 cubanelle pepper, halved, seeded
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 scallions
2 quarts warm water
For the Salsa:
4 whole tomatillos, husks removed
1 tablespoon salt
5 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seedless, deveined
1 Serrano pepper, seedless, deveined
3 whole scallions
½ bunch of cilantro
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chipped
3 sweet, small peppers
¼ green pepper, seedless, deveined, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pork broth

For the Dough:
1 pound instant corn masa flour (Maseca is a top brand)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
¼ pound (4 ounces) of vegetable shortening
4 cups of warm pork broth

22 corn husks
1 tablespoon olive oil

Special Equipment: Tamale steamer**



1. For the Pork: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the corn husks. Cover, turn off the heat, and let the husks soak for ½ hour. Set aside.

2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a heavy pot and heat at medium-high. Add onion, garlic, meat, warm water, and the rest of the ingredients for the pork filling and let it come to a boil. Cover with a lid and gently simmer at medium heat for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

3. Once the meat is tender, remove from the liquid and let it come to room temperature. Shred finely. Strain the broth and put aside.

4. For the Salsa: Blanch the tomatillos in boiling water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 1 minute. Drain and place the tomatillos in a blender. Add jalapeno, Serrano chili, and the sweet peppers and blend well.

5. Sautee onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add diced green pepper and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomatillo mixture to the pan and cook uncovered 13-15 minutes until it reduces by half.

6. For the Dough: In a big glass bowl, add the instant masa flour, baking powder, salt, and mix well. Add the shortening and mix by hand while slowly adding the pork broth. Knead until the dough is creamy and wet.

7. Take the corn husks, one at a time, spread 2 tablespoons of the dough in the center of the husk. Add 1 tablespoon of the salsa and a few strands of the shredded pork (if you add too much pork, the tamale will open while cooking). Fold the right side of the husk toward the center and repeat with the left side. Fold the tip upwards over the other 2 folds. Carefully place the tamales in the tamale steamer. Repeat this process until the tamale steamer is full.

8. Cook covered at medium-high heat for 50-60 minutes, making sure that there is always water at the bottom of the pot.

9. Remove and enjoy.

**The tamale steamer is designed as a tall metal bucket-like pot with a perforated metal divider that sits at the bottom to keep the tamales out of the hot water. The tamales are stacked upright inside the bucket.


To learn more about me or my recipes, visit me at DenisseOller.com and at AARP, where I am a chef and nutrition expert.

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