|48||Corn shucks; more corn shucks, for lining steamer|
|2 pounds||Pork; lean, boneless, cut in 2" chunks|
|½ cup||Raisins (opt)|
|Salt & pepper|
|⅔ cup||Onion; chopped, peeled|
|2||(large) cloves; peeled & chopped|
|1 pounds||Tomato; chopped|
|8 ounces||Tomato sauce|
|4 ounces||Green chiles; drained|
|Jalapeno peppers; roasted, seeded & skinned (to taste)|
|1 large||Bay leaf|
|⅔ cup||Lard; room temp|
|4 cups||Masa harina|
|1 tablespoon||Baking powder|
|3 cups||Warm pork stock (reserved from pork filling recipe)|
Filling: Place pork in a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven and add water just to the top of the meat. Add two teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and raisins. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer about two hours, or until meat is very tender.
Strain stock into a container for use in the dough. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred with a fork or fingers. Puree onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, shiles and jalapeno in a blender or processor.
Heat lard in a skillet over moderate heat. Add puree, ½ tablespoon salt, bay leaf, and sugar and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix puree with the shredded meat and raisins. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, or jalapenos if desired. Makes about five cups.
Dough: In a small, straight-sided mixing bowl beat the lard with an electric mixer, processor, or fork until it is light and fluffy. On a piece of wax paper mix masa with salt and baking powder and beat into lard, adding about ¼ of the mixture at a time. When well mixed, beat in stock ¼ cup at a time to make a slightly mushy, but not watery, dough.
Construction: Put shucks in a large bowl, cover with very hot water, and let soak for at least 1-½ to two hours, until soft and pliable. If using packaged shucks, separate them after a few minutes of soaking to make sure each one is in contact with the water. Before using, shake excess water from the softened shucks. Wet your hands. For each tamale spread about two tablespoons of the dough into a rectangle on the inside of a shuck; spread to within ¾ inch of the edges and leave about three inches at the pointed end and 1-½ inches at the wide end of the shuck. Spread 1-½ to two tablespoons filling lengthwise down the center of the dough. Fold over ends of shucks so that dough completely covers filling. Arrange tamales upright in steamer with folded wide ends down.
To cook tamales, fill the bottom of a steamer with water to a depth of about one inch. If desired, line steamer basket with additional corn shucks. Pack wrapped tamales upright in basket with the broad ends of the shucks down. When steamer is full, cover tamales with additional shucks or a clean dish towel to prevent condensation from soaking them. Cover pot tightly and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to moderately low and steam one to 1-½ hours. Add water as necessary. Unwrap a tamale, and if dough comes away from the shuck easily, tamales are cooked. Tightly covered, tamales may be kept several days in the refrigerator, or they may be frozen for several weeks. Reheat, covered, in a 300 F. oven.
Mary Alice Cisneros
The Only Texas Cookbook
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