5 lbs. of pork shoulder/pork butt
2 bay leaves
1 bag of corn husks
1 bag chilies (the green bag @ Fry's seem to be the best)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 t. salt
6 c. Maseca
6 c. chicken broth
2 c. vegetable oil
3 t. baking powder
3 t. salt
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (optional)
Jalapenos, sliced (optional)
Cooking the Pork:
- Put the pork in the crock pot with bay leaves.
- Cook on high, overnight the night before you plan on making your tamales.
- The pork is ready when it shreds easily; you should be able to pull the bone out easily.
Soak the Corn Husks:
- Fill one side of your clean kitchen sink with cold water.
- Clean off any corn silk from the husks and separate them (try not to tear them as you separate them)
- Put the corn husks in the cold water.
- The husks will tend to float. I usually weigh them down with a glass measuring cup. This is not necessary, just a tip I use.
- Soak for 30-40 minutes.
Make the Chili Sauce:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Remove the stem from each individual chili and sake out the seeds from the inside.
- Once the stems and seeds are removed, put the chilies in the boiling pot of water.
- Boil the chilies until they are soft and a bright pink, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the chilies to the blender, add 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and some of the chili water.
- Blend the chili mixture.
- Add more chili water if needed. The goal is to have a nice consistency that is not too thick, yet not too runny.
- Pour the chili mixture into a strainer and strain into a bowl. You may need to take the back of a spoon and force the liquid through. Straining is not required, but I like my chili sauce smooth and free of the "skin" particles.
Make the Masa Mixture
- In a large bowl, mix Maseca, chicken broth, vegetable oil, baking powder, and 3 teaspoons salt.
- Stir until everything is well blended. It should be a nice consistency, not too thin, but not too pasty. Add more oil if your mixture needs more moisture.
Drain the Corn Husks
- Remove the corn husks from the water and shake off any excess water.
- Place them on a cookie sheet.
Assemble the Tamales
- Line up all of your components: corn husks, masa mixutre, meat, chili sauce, cheese/jalapenos
- Open a single husk with the wide end at the top. Spread masa on the husk, about 1/4" thick. There is no need to spread masa all the way down to the point as this will be folded up.
- Lay a fair amount of pork along the center (top to bottom) of the masa covered husk.
- Spoon 2 or 3 spoonfuls of chili sauce on top of the meat.
- Sprinkle a small amount of cheese along the sauce/meat (if using).
- Place jalapenos on top of the cheese (if using). I make about half with jalapenos and half without. I make sure to put 1 - 2 slices very near the top so the ones with jalapenos are very distinguishable.
- Fold the left side over about 2/3 of the way.
- Fold the right side over about 2/3 of the way, the masa will help act as a glue to help hold it together.
- Fold the bottom up.
- Place the folded tamale open end up in your steamer basket. Note: initially you may need to place a bowl or something else in your steamer basket to help support the tamales until you have wrapped up enough of them to support each other. You may also find a way to position your pot and steamer basket at an angle (generally, I have not added any water to the pot at this point). You do not want the tamales to slide down and lose the contents.
- Do not put too many tamales into the steamer basket or they will not cook properly.
- Add water to the steamer pot and place it on the stove.
- Cover the pot and steamer basket and turn it on high.
- Once a good steam is being generated, turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Continue steaming for 1 1/2 to 2 hour.
- The tamales are done when you open one up and the masa has hardened. If the masa is still too soft, continue steaming.