For many, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a plate of hot, steamy tamales at the dinner table. Gathering together to make tamales is a practice firmly rooted in Mexican and Latin American tradition. It’s a special time for socializing and reestablishing old bonds and new with family and friends and holds great meaning to many households. Putting together a big batch of tamales can get labor intensive but ask anyone and they’ll tell you the results are always worth it in the end. Tamales are basically pockets of corn dough wrapped in corn husks and stuffed with savory or sweet fillings such as meat, vegetables, cheese and even fruits. They are then usually steamed until firm and then unwrapped upon serving. Everyone seems to have their own favorite version of tamales, but today’s recipe gets a little bit of extra heat with our Spicy Pork Tamales. The filling is made with rich, savory, fork-tender pork that’s flavored with plenty of delicious spices and mixed together with plenty of garlic, onion and jalapeños. It’s an all-purpose kind of recipe that goes perfectly with not only these tamales but also other dishes like enchiladas, tacos, nachos and much more!
Making tamales from scratch can be quite a time-consuming task that’s usually reserved for family and friends to work on as a team. Before assembling your tamales, you must soak your dried corn husks in water to make them pliable. Making the masa dough is also another task to undertake, which involves mixing dried corn meal and seasonings together. With ready-to-use corn husks and Corn Masa Mix, Melissa’s Tamale Kit takes out both of these extra steps so that you can enjoy fresh, authentic tamales in about an hour. Everything you need to create this beloved recipe as well as any other kinds of tamales is conveniently located in this kit.
Spicy Pork Tamales
Yields: 4 dozen tamales
- 4 packages of Melissa’s Tamale Kits, includes
- 12 corn husks
- 12.5 oz corn masa mix
- 2 pounds of pork shoulder or pork butt, untrimmed
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 12 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup of chili powder
- 3 tablespoons of salt
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the Corn Masa Mix with water. Let the mixture sit until it thickens to a paste-like consistency.
2. While the masa mixture is sitting and thickening, mix together the chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. Divide this mixture into 2 separate bowls.
3. Take the pork shoulder or pork butt and cut it into large pieces. Place the pieces of meat into a large saucepan. Pour in the 12 cups of water and add half of the spices. Heat up the meat over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the water has started to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for around 2 hours.
4. Once the meat is fork tender, remove the meat from the saucepan and transfer to a cutting board. Reserve the liquid from the saucepan.Once the meat has cooled down a little, shred the meat with either your hands or forks. Set the meat aside for later.
5. In a separate pan, add the vegetable oil and sauté the onions for around 2-3 minutes until translucent. Then add the jalapeno, garlic and the other half of the spice mixture. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
6. Add the shredded meat to the pan and toss together until the vegetables are well mixed.
7. Lay out your corn husks. Divide the masa batter into 12 equal portions and spread evenly onto the corn husks. Leave about 2 inches of space from the edges.
8. Assemble the rest of the tamales by adding a layer of pork and vegetable mixture on top of the masa mix.
9. Fold the sides of the tamales over and then fold the bottom upwards.
10. Place the tamales into a steamer pot standing upwards over boiling water.
11. Lower the heat to medium-low and steam the tamales covered for an hour.