Tamales nortenos 1 of 2

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pack Dried corn husks
2 ounces Ancho chile -- dried
2 ounces Pasilla chile -- dried
2 ounces Guajilla chile -- dried
2 ounces New Mexican red chile --
\N \N Dried
1½ pounds Pork shoulder or beef
\N \N Shoulder roast
½ large Onion -- sliced
5 \N Cloves garlic -- peeled &
\N \N Smashed
2 teaspoons Salt
10 \N Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
4 tablespoons Ground chile seasoning
4 tablespoons Lard or vegetable
\N \N Shortening



The Corn Husks

The dried husks are brittle and must be soaked in water to soften them before they can be rolled into tamales. In the package, the husks for a whole ear of corn are usually pressed together. Separate the individual husks being careful not to break them, since they are fragile when dry.

Place the separated husks in a large pot and cover with hot water.

Leave them to soak for about one hour. You can put a plate with a heavy object on it on top of the tamales to keep them submerged. When soft, rinse the husks well and put back into a pot of clean water.

The Filling

While the husks are soaking, prepare the meat filling. The chile used to season tamales is the ancho. The ancho is the ripened, dried form of the poblano. It has a rich, smoky flavor. While other dried chiles can be used for seasoning, the ancho provides an authentic flavor. I like to use a combination of chiles for seasoning tamales.

Toast the dried chiles on a hot cast-iron griddle for a few minutes on each side. Be careful not to burn the chiles or they will have a bitter taste. As the chiles toast, they will become soft and pliable and may puff up. Put aside to cool. The chiles will become very crisp and brittle when cooled.

When cool, remove the seeds and stems and crumble into small pieces.

Put the pieces into a coffee mill or spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Store the ground chile mix in a jar to use for seasoning other Mexican dishes.

You can use a variety of meats for making tamales. I use either beef or chicken, but pork is traditional. I also use vegetable shortening, although again, lard is traditionally used in Mexico. Cut the meat into 1" to 2" chunks. Heat the lard or shortening in a heavy bottomed pot and brown the meat. When brown, add enough water to cover the meat and add the onions and garlic. Simmer until the meat is fork tender and flakes apart. For beef shoulder roast this will take about 2 - 3 hours.

While the meat is cooking, toast the cumin seeds on a cast iron griddle and then grind into a fine powder using a coffee mill or spice grinder and set aside.

When the meat is cooked tender, set aside to cool. Separate the meat chunks >From the broth, reserving the broth. Shred the meat into small strands.

Heat 2 tablespoons of lard or shortening in a heavy pan, preferably cast iron. Add the chile seasoning and cumin and stir for a few seconds. Add the meat and fry for two or three minutes. Add the reserved broth and simmer until the liquid level is reduced. The mixture should be soupy. Set aside to cool while you make the masa.

Recipe By : Garry Howard

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