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Polo Grill Blue Cornmeal Pork Tamales with Firecracker Flames

Source: Chef Robert Merrifield, Polo Grill, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Braised Pork Shoulder
1 (5 pound) pork shoulder arm picnic, trimmed of fat

Tamale Filling
1 cup guajillo chile sauce (see below)
4 fresh tomatoes, fire-roasted and crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Small amount of water, if needed, for preferred moisture
Dried corn husks

Cornmeal Mush
6 cups blue cornmeal
2 cups yellow cornmeal
4 cups Masa Harina (corn flour)
2 tablespoons salt
10 cups total of boiling braising liquid and additional water
2 cups melted pork lard

Guajillo Chile Sauce
10 dried guajillo chile peppers
1 cup water from soaking peppers
6 whole cloves garlic
1/4 red onion

Pork shoulder preparation

Trim away fat and skin from pork shoulder with a sharp knife. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Slowly brown the pork shoulder on all sides in a small amount of oil in a heavy pan. Pour off drippings. Add 6 cups of water to pork. Cover tightly and simmer gently over low heat on top of range or in a 325 degree F oven for two to three hours or until meat is fork-tender. Cool. Discard bones and any remaining fat from pork. Shred meat and weigh 2 pounds for tamale filling. Reserve braising liquid for cornmeal mush.

Guajillo chile sauce preparation

Tear off stems of peppers. Cut or tear a slit in the side of each and remove the membranes and all seeds. Place peppers in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and let peppers soak until the water is cool. Drain the peppers, reserving 1 cup of water from the peppers. Add garlic, onion and 1 cup of the reserved water. Puree in blender or food processor. Strain through a fine sieve.

Tamale assembly

Filling: Combine cooked pork with remaining ingredients. Heat thoroughly and set aside while making mush.

Place corn husks in HOT water to soften.

Cornmeal mush: Mix dry ingredients together. Add boiling water ALL AT ONCE. Stir quickly to combine thoroughly and set aside.

Assembly: Spread 3 ounces of cornmeal mixture onto large corn husk presoaked in hot water. Add 2 ounces of pork mixture down the center. Using the husk as a guide, roll cornmeal mixture over the meat mixture to encase completely. Do not roll or spiral. Add another husk if necessary and tie at one end with strip of husk. Place tamales at an angle in a steamer pan with the open ends UP. Steam 30 minutes in steamer until mush is cooked and set. Microwave to reheat.

Garnish with "firecracker flames" of red hot sauce and red chili mango paint.



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