Chili Verde Pork Tamales


Chili Verde Pork Tamales
After playing with this recipe for about a year now, I am now confidant to share this with you all. I was back and forth with the choice of meat to use until my husband made it clear that pork was his favorite for the green sauce. I recommend taste testing your chilli’s before you add them to your sauce. Depending on where your chili’s come from, it will make a difference in heat. Some can be extremely hot while others can be very mild. I used 8 large jalapenos for this recipe because they were med in heat. You may want to use only a couple if you are looking for mild. This recipe made 32 tamales. Overnight the Corn husks so planned accordingly.
Recipe type: main
  • Basic Tamale Dough
  • 1 large bag of dried corn husks (soak overnight in hot water)
  • 1⅓ cup or 10 oz Pork Lard or vegetable shortening if you choose. If you are not a vegetarian, you will enjoy the rich flavor the lard will add.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 ½ cups dried masa harina (instant corn masa flour) for tamales mixed with 2 ½ cups of hot water
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth (I recommend homemade with spices out of chicken thighs)
  • Chili Verde Sauce
  • 15 medium Tomatillos, husks removed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 7 Poblanos
  • 4 to 8 Jalapenos depends on heat level you are wanting
  • 2 small yellow onions cut in large chunks
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 3 cups fresh cilantro, stems included
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon salt (test to desired taste)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 3 ½ Lbs Pork shoulder/butt, boneless if you find it or ask your butcher to do it for you (trim the excess fat)
  • Plus ½ cup of broth
  2. Fill your sink or a very large roasting pan with hot water. I separate all the husks and remove the ones that are to small or torn. Submerge them into the hot water and put something heavy on them to keep them submerged. Do this the night before so they will be ready the next day.
  4. Set the oven at 325. Cut the pork shoulder in about 3 inch cubes. Try to trim it from excess fat, but do not try to remove all the fat. This is what will give it LOTS of flavor. Set aside while preparing the Verde sauce.
  5. The Tamale Dough
  6. In a stand up mixer, on med high mix the lard, baking powder and salt till light and fluffy. (About 2 mins) Next start adding the prepared masa in 3 parts, turn the speed down to low and slowly add 1 cup of the chicken broth. Mix until smooth then add the other half cup of broth. Taste if more salt is desired. The consistency should be like a very thick cake batter, not runny! Place in the fridge for about an hour. When ready to form the tamales, remove from fridge then rebeat the masa and add another ½ cup of broth.
  8. Use a grill if possible, if no grill then set your oven to broil. Place the first 5 ingredients on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminium foil. (Tomatillos, jalapenos, poblanos, onion, garlic) You may need to use 2 cookie sheets for this and do in separate batches. This will need your attention so no walking away or distractions during this step. If doing in separate batches, do the chilies first. When one side gets a nice dark chard, flip them over and try to get it all evenly charred. When finished, place them in a bowl and seal with foil to sweat them out. This will help to remove the skin easily when cooled. When charring the tomatillos and onions, do a quick char on top then remove then right away. You want them to be firm. The garlic cloves broil with the skin on till soft.
  9. When the chillies have cooled, peel the charred skins off and remove seeds and steams. Be sure to wear gloves or you may have burning fingers! Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. If it is to hot, add more cilantro and lime to help tone it down. Yield 8 cups
  10. In a dutch oven (a roasting pan can be used with aluminium foil to seal tightly as possible) add the pork and 4 cups of the verde sauce and ½ cup of chicken broth. Mix till coated then seal. Place in the heated oven for 3 hours. I like to check every hour and give it a stir. It is finished when the meat falls apart effortlessly. Using two forks, shred all the meat and mix well with the sauce. If sauce is to thick, add more broth to desired consistency. Let cool while you finish the masa.
  11. Make the Tamales
  12. Tear 32 long thin strips from the cornhusks. One at a time, choose a cornhusks with the wider end towards you. Spread about ¼ cup of the batter into about a 4-inch square, leaving at least a 1½-inch border on the side toward you and a ¾-inch border along the other sides (with large husks, the borders will be much bigger). Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling down the center of the batter. Pick up the two long sides of the cornhusk and bring them together. If the uncovered borders of the two long sides you’re holding are narrow, tuck one side under the other; if wide, roll both sides in the same direction around the tamale. Finally, fold up the empty 1½-inch section of the husk to make a tightly closed bottom leaving the top open, and secure it in place by loosely tying one of the strings or strips of husk around the tamale. As they’re made, stand the tamales on their folded bottoms in the prepared steamer. Don’t tie the tamales too tightly or pack them too closely in the steamer. They need room to expand.
  13. Time to steam
  14. Steaming 32 tamales can be done in batches in a collapsible vegetable steamer set into a large, deep saucepan. To steam them all at once, you need a tamale steamer that you can find in any Mexican grocery store. After you have placed all the tamales upright in the steamer, use cornhusks to over the tamales and I go extra by placing a dampened small dish towel on top of that with a secure lid. This will protect the tamales from direct contact with the steam and to add more flavor. Steam over a constant medium heat for about 1¼ hours. Pay attention that all the water doesn’t boil away and, to keep the steam steady, pour boiling water into the pot when more is necessary. Tamales are done when the husk peels away from the masa easily. Let tamales stand in the steamer off the heat for a few minutes to firm up. Enjoy with the extra left over Verde salsa.
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