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Xochimilco Mexican Restaurant Pork Tamales

Source: Xochimilco Mexican Restaurant, Sacramento, California

Meat Filling
1 pound lean boneless pork butt or shoulder, trimmed
    of excess fat and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups water
4 large dried New Mexico or California Chiles (about 3 ounces)
    or 3 to 4 tablespoons ground chile powder
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. (Pork simmered in red sauce is Mexico's traditional filling for tamales.)

Masa Dough

Whip 1 1/3 cups lard, left over pork broth, or solid shortening until fluffy.

Blend in 4 cups dehydrated masa flour (corn tortilla flour); 2 teaspoons salt, if desired, and 2 2/3 cups warm water. Mix until dough holds together. If made ahead cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days and bring to room temperature before using.

Basic Tamales

Use 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks. Sort through dried corn husks, discarding silk and other extraneous material. In large roasting pan, cover husk with warm water and let stand until pliable (at least 20 minutes) or until next day. Drain and pat dry when ready to use.

For each tamale select a wide pliable husk and lay flat, with tip pointing away from you. Spread evenly 2 tablespoons of the masa down the center of the husk forming a rectangle that is flush with one side of husk, an 1/2 inch from opposite side, an 1/2 inch from bottom and three inches from tip. If husk is not wide enough, use some masa to paste another husk onto back of first. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling in center of masa. To enclose filling, fold husk so masa edges meet, wrapping plain part of husk around outside of tamale, fold bottom end of husk over body of tamale; then fold in tip. Place seam side down on a tray cover with a damp paper towel.

To steam, place a rack in a 12-to 14-quart pan and pour in boiling water to a depth of an inch (water should not reach tamales). Stack tamales in steam loosely so steam can circulate. Bring to boil and keep at steady boil adding hot water as needed until masa is firm and doesn't stick to husk. Open on from center of pan to test about one hour.

Serve tamales hot or keep warm in steamer. To serve peel husk and of chile bean with cheese.

NOTE: We at Xochimilco's offer a chile sauce with melted cheese or Chile Colorado Beef with our own special gravy sauces.



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