RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
Ahhh it’s been a great Easter weekend, filled with friends, much-needed yard work, a batch of tamales and a wonderful time judging the Six-Twelve Bake Off and Cake Walk Saturday afternoon; More on that in a sec.
So I love tamales and have been craving them lately. Even though they’re a little labor intensive, they make a great “freezes beautifully” meal for those busy households, or are something you can make for large gatherings.
Knowing I would be making a batch of my Pork-Poblano Tamales today (Sunday), I started the process out Saturday night by marinating the pork shoulder I use in these tamales. The chef in me has a slight problem with using a canned red enchilada sauce as opposed to making a batch from dried chilis, tomatillos, lime, garlic, and cilantro (Been there, done that), but the “I don’t have two days to spend on this recipe” guy in me thought the store bought sauce would be just fine. And it was. Of course, a little help from In The Kitchen With Scotty’s BARBACOA Seasoning gave it that extra nudge to being the fantastic roasted pork that I was craving for these tamales.
Tried and true authentic tamale makers will take issue with the fact that I did not use lard in the masa dough. I get that, I understand that, and I too love the authenticity that lard brings. I wanted to try something different (and not have to buy more lard than I needed for this recipe) so opted with using grapeseed oil to bring the dough together. It was wonderful… and I also do not have a mini bucket of lard hanging out in my pantry waiting to be used.
If you guys remember in the past, for the last four years I have always highlighted the Blue Ribbon winner of the Six-Twelve Bake Off and Cake Walk. This year is no exception. Ever happening the Saturday before Easter, home bakers enter a cake to be judged and then all the cakes are used in the Cake Walk. Folks buy “chances” for the cake walk in hopes of winning a cake to take home for Easter, with all proceeds going to the Six-Twelve community kitchen.
This year’s Blue Ribbon Winner was Monty Milburn of Oklahoma City. Not only one of Oklahoma City’s premier realtors, Monty as it turns out, is quite the cake maker. His “Just Peachy” Bundt Cake was loaded with bright peach flavor and was an immediate hit with the judges. Monty’s recipe can be found here or just look it up on my website. You’re going to love it!
On to the Tamales!
Scotty’s Pork and Poblano Tamales - makes 2 dozen tamales.
Small boneless pork shoulder/pork butt roast about 2-2 1/2 pounds
In The Kitchen With Scotty “Barbacoa Seasoning” or your own choice of Barbacoa seasoning
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
8 ounces (1 cup) red enchilada sauce
3 fire roasted poblano peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
Mexican Oaxaca cheese or Asadero cheese, cut into strips (Mozzarella may be substituted)
Package of dried corn husks, soaked in cold water at least 1 hour
For the Masa Dough:
6 cups Masa harina
2 teaspoons In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” or your own Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil or any flavorless oil
4 cups (1 quart) unsalted chicken stock
The night before trim off any excess fat from your boneless pork shoulder. Cut into large 2-3” chunks and place into a bowl. Toss the pork with ITK’s Barbacoa seasoning, enough to coat the pieces thoroughly.
In a deep, nonmetal baking dish, add the seasoned pork, sliced onion, chopped cilantro. Pour over the red enchilada sauce and turn the pieces around so the sauce coats all sides. Cover the dish in cling film and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
The next day, remove the pork from the fridge, give it another turn and stir, cover in aluminum foil, and place in a preheated 350-degree oven. Cook the pork in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Remove and uncover the pork to cool. Set aside.
While your pork is roasting go ahead and roast off your whole poblano peppers. Place the peppers over an open flame (gas stovetop or outdoor grill) and roast the peppers until charred black. Wrap the peppers loosely in the aluminum foil wrapping from the pork or in a plastic baggie to steam for at least one hour. I recommend gloves for this next part. With paper towels gently rub off the charred outer skin. Open the pepper and remove as much of the seed pod, seeds, and pith, from inside the peppers. These things contain capsaicin… the chemical that makes peppers HOT. You don’t want to rub your eyes or touch any other areas of your body if you are not using gloves. You’re welcome.
To make the masa dough: Gently heat your chicken stock just to warm, not to boil. In a large mixing bowl of your stand mixer, add the masa harina flour, baking powder, Cook’s Line or kosher salt, and dried cumin. Stir with a spoon to combine. Using the paddle attachment Mix in the grapeseed oil until wet and crumbly. With the mixer still running slowly and carefully add in the warmed chicken stock a little at a time. Beat the dough until light and fluffy. If you think the dough is too dry, add warm water if there is no more chicken stock. Cover until ready to use.
When you’re ready to start making the tamales, and this is your first time, I suggest a YouTube “how to” video. Otherwise, remove your dry corn husks that have been soaking in cold water for at least an hour. Lay the soaked husk out on a flat surface and blot dry with a towel.
Spread the masa dough on the corn husk, around 1/4 cup. Using a butter knife or hands (what I do) spread the dough out wide and thick enough that it will envelop your filling. Keep your fingers wet if using your hands.
In the center of the dough add a strip of the roasted poblano pepper. Top with a line of the shredded pork, finally topping with a strip of cheese. Fold in the husk halfway vertically, so the dough wraps around the filling, then do the same thing on the other side of the husk, so you are enclosing the filling with the dough.
Wrap the husk up into a cylinder shape. Fold up the bottom of the cylinder envelope style. The top of the tamale will be exposed, and that is okay. Secure the bottom fold with a strip (or two strips knotted together) the wraps around the fold,. Tie into a knot like a little satchel. It takes some practice, but once you get used to it, the groove gets easier.
Once all of your tamales are made, begin to steam. In a pot with steamer insert add water. Insert the steaming basket and layer in your tamales, Standing upright with the exposed end at the top. Cover the tamales with any extra corn husks. Place the pot’s lid on top and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to simmer string enough to steam the tamales. Steam the tamales for 30 minutes or until the dough is starting to separate from the inside of the husk.
Remove this “hot tamales” from the pot, set them free and serve immediately! You may also allow them to cool, and layer in a shallow dish to freeze for later. These are great with Salsa Verde, pico, crumbled Mexican Cotija cheese, or any of your favorite toppings.