Hot tamales

Hot tamales

By
From
Deep South
Makes
12-15
Photographer
Andy Sewell

The authenticity of Mexican tamales has been replaced by a new kind of authenticity across the Mississippi Delta, where ‘hot tamales’ are ubiquitous. Every tamales stand has its own safely guarded recipe.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2-3 corn cobs
100g masa harina
120ml water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
115g pork lard
120ml chicken or pork stock

For the pork filling:

Quantity Ingredient
500g boned pork neck
75g guajillo chilli peppers, soaked in hot water for 5–10 minutes or until soft, then drained
1/2 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters
5 garlic cloves, peeled
200ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1 clove
sea salt

Method

  1. First prepare the pork filling. Place the pork in a 5% brine (find the recipes in the basics chapter) and leave for 8 hours. Meanwhile, purée the guajillo chilli peppers and a pinch of salt in a blender. Add the onion, garlic, orange juice and clove to the blender and whiz to a paste.
  2. Drain the brined pork, rub the paste into it and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. The next day, cover and place in an oven heated to 160°C. Cook for 3–4 hours, until very tender. Allow to cool slightly, then shred the meat with your fingers. Leave to cool in its cooking juices, then chill.
  3. To make the tamale dough, cut the corn from the cobs and purée in a food processor; you will need 215g corn purée. Chill the ingredients thoroughly. Mix the masa harina and water in a food processor to form a dough. Add the puréed corn and continue to process to a smooth paste. Mix in the baking powder and salt, then the lard and finally the stock, incorporating each ingredient fully before adding the next. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Place a spoonful of the dough in the centre of a 20cm square of baking parchment. Press a spoonful of the chilled pork mix on top of the dough. Roll into a cylinder, then twist the ends of the paper to seal. Turn the tamale over so that it’s seam-side down. Prepare the rest of the tamales in the same way.
  5. Put the tamales in a steamer, keeping them seam-side down. Cover and steam for about 45 minutes; they are ready when the dough is light, fluffy, and no longer tacky to the touch. Serve immediately for best results, or keep warm in the steamer until ready to eat.
Tags:
American
Southern cooking
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