Cooking Classics: Tamales

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Cooking Classics

The Technique 

Tamales

Tamales may be prepared a number of ways with a variety of sauces or gravies to accompany with them. A little planning will be necessary in order to make these delicious authentic Mexican specialties. Although most typically crafted with slow roasted pork, smoked pulled pork, also known as southern-style barbecue or House Barbecue, adds an extra layer of depth to this particular recipe. Classic Red Chile Sauce is used to coat the filling as well as dress the tamales for serving so be sure to drop in tomorrow for the complete recipe & lesson. In the meantime, just remember to add a smidgen of time to the process in order to soak the dried corn husks before preparing the masa. Learn how to make authentic tamales each & every step of the way in your very own kitchen with my detailed culinary tutorial.

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Smoked Pork Tamales With Classic Red Chile Sauce

makes 1 dozen

18 dried corn husks
2 1/2 cups masa harina
2/3 cup shortening or lard
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups Sweet Chili-Lime Smoked Pork Shoulder
Classic Red Chile Sauce
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Garnishes: Chopped sweet onion, cilantro & minced hot peppers

Remove the steamer insert from a 6 to 8-quart stock pot & place the corn husks inside. Fill the pot with water to reach 3/4 of the way up the sides. Place the steamer insert over the corn husks to weigh them down into the water. Let stand 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the masa dough. Whisk together the masa harina, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt & the baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the shortening & blend 30 seconds on Low then Medium-Low speed then increase to Medium & blend or until crumbly in texture. Stop the mixer & scrape down the bowl sides using a rubber spatula. With the mixer on Low speed, slowly pour the chicken broth into the mixture until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to Medium speed & beat 8 minutes or until the masa is light & airy.

Drain the corn husks in a colander. Stir together the pork, 1/4 cup Classic Red Chile Sauce, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt & the pepper in a small bowl. Place a corn husk over a cutting board. Portion approximately 1/4 cup of the masa dough over the top. A small spring release disher works well. Press the dough flat with your fingers. Top with approximately 1 tablespoon of the filling. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together to the center to encase the filling then place them flat again. If desired, wrap a bit of butchers twine or a very thin piece of corn husk around the bottom portion of each tamale, however just know that they will stay closed if you choose to omit this step. Place the tamale on a quarter sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining dough & filling. 

Place a bit of water in the steamer. My steamer holds approximately 3 cups. Place the insert into the pot & line the bottom with some of the remaining corn husks. Place the tamales upright over them. Bring the water to a boil, cover with the lid & reduce the heat to Medium-Low. Allow the tamales to steam 30 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove the lid. Transfer the tamales to a flat work surface. Unwrap the tamales & place them on serving plates. Accompany with the remaining Classic Red Chile Sauce. Garnish, if desired. 

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How To Make Tamales

Once the main components have been prepared, an assembly line may be created in order to fill, wrap & steam the tamalesTamales may be portioned & rolled early in the day, then refrigerated & cooked for an evening meal. The texture is ultra light directly after steaming & truly worth the effort. 

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rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickThe Technique

A few pieces of equipment will be necessary in order to complete the task. Read through the recipe before beginning. Here’s what you should know.

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No. 1

Meanwhile, prepare the masa dough.
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1a

Whisk together the masa harina, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt & the baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the shortening & blend 30 seconds on Low then Medium-Low speed then increase to Medium & blend or until crumbly in texture.

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1b

Stop the mixer & scrape down the bowl sides using a rubber spatula.

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1c

With the mixer on Low speed, slowly pour the chicken broth into the mixture until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to Medium speed & beat 8 minutes or until the masa is light & airy. 

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1d

Scrape down the bowl sides & be certain the dough is incorporated evenly.

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No. 2

If you choose to omit the butchers twine, be certain to leave several inches of space at the bottom of the formed tamales so that it may be folded securely for the steaming procedure.  

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2a

Drain the corn husks in a colander. Stir together the pork, 1/4 cup Classic Red Chile Sauce, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt & the pepper in a small bowl. Place a corn husk over a cutting board. Portion approximately 1/4 cup of the masa dough over the top. A small spring release disher works well.

Southern-Entertaining-Smoked-Pork-Tamales-With-Classic-Red-Chile-Sauce-Rebecca-Gordon-Editor-In-Chief-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Techniques-Southern-Hostess-RebeccaGordon-Pastry-Chef-Gardener-Birmingham-Alabama

2b

Press the dough flat with your fingers.

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2c

Top with approximately 1 tablespoon of the filling.

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2d

Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together to the center to encase the filling then place them flat again.

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2e

Roll the the corn husk around the tamale jelly-roll fashion.

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2f

Tuck the end under.

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2g

If desired, wrap a bit of butchers twine or a very thin piece of corn husk around the bottom portion of each tamale, however just know that they will stay closed if you choose to omit this step. Place the tamale on a quarter sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining dough & filling.  

Southern-Entertaining-Smoked-Pork-Tamales-With-Classic-Red-Chile-Sauce-Rebecca-Gordon-Editor-In-Chief-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Techniques-Southern-Hostess-RebeccaGordon-Pastry-Chef-Gardener-Birmingham-Alabama

No. 3

Place a bit of water in the steamer. My steamer holds approximately 3 cups. Place the insert into the pot & line the bottom with some of the remaining corn husks. 

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3a

Place the tamales upright over them. Bring the water to a boil, cover with the lid & reduce the heat to Medium-Low. Allow the tamales to steam 30 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

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No. 4

 Remove the lid. Transfer the tamales to a flat work surface. 

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4a

Unwrap the tamales & place them on serving plates.
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No. 5

Accompany with the remaining Classic Red Chile Sauce. Garnish, if desired. Additional dressed, smoked pulled pork may be added to each serving for a heartier meal.

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* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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