November 22, 2013

Originally published in our Fall 2012 issue

Recipe courtesy of National Pork Board

Makes 16 tamales or 8 servings


The Tamale Filling:

6 fresh pork shank pieces, 1 ½ lb. each

½ lb. bacon slices, cut into 1-in. pieces

2 T. olive oil

2 lg. carrots, diced

1 lg. onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 T. fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 28-oz can plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, in juice

2 c. chicken broth, lower sodium

2 c. dry sherry

4 dried ancho chiles, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded

2 T. tomato paste

1 T. chili powder

1 T. smoked paprika

1 t. ground coriander

2 t. ground cumin

Preheat oven to 350°F. Season shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch deep skillet or braiser over medium-high heat. Working in 2 or 3 batches, brown shank well and transfer to large, deep roaster with a tight fitting lid; set aside. Add bacon, carrots, onions, garlic and thyme to skillet. Sauté until onion softens, approximately 5 mins. Remove skillet from heat. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, sherry, chiles, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, cumin and coriander. Return skillet to heat and bring to boil, scraping brown bits stuck on bottom of pan.

Pour tomato mixture over shanks in roaster. Cover; place in oven and braise until shanks are very tender, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Remove shanks from roaster and let cool. Strain liquid; discard solids. Transfer liquid to large bowl; refrigerate until fat forms layer on top. Spoon off fat and discard. Place 2 cups of juices in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, to reduce to 1 ½  cups. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Once shanks are cool enough to handle, remove and discard bone and fat. Finely chop meat and place 6 cups in large bowl. Stir in reduced sauce. Set meat mixture aside.


The Masa Dough:

1 ½ to 2 c. chicken broth, lower sodium

Pinch saffron threads, Spanish (optional)

1 1/3 c. lard, OR solid vegetable shortening, room temperature

1 ½ t. salt

1 ½ t. baking powder

3 ½ c. masa harina, (instant corn masa flour)

Before starting, bring broth and, if desired, saffron threads to boil. Simmer about 3 to 4 minutes. Strain saffron threads from broth; chill completely. Using an upright electric mixer, beat lard with salt and baking powder in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in half masa harina until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in ¾ cup of broth. Repeat with remaining masa harina and ¾ cup broth, forming soft dough. If dough seems too firm, add more broth to soften. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.


The Peach Salsa:

1 3/4 cups peaches, peeled and diced

¼ c. red bell pepper, diced

¼ c. green onions, chopped

2 T. lime juice, or key lime juice

1 to 3 t. cilantro, finely chopped

1 T. serrano chile, seeded and minced

1 t. ginger, minced

½ clove garlic, minced

¼  8-oz package dried corn husks, soaked in water for several hours or overnight

Mix peaches, red bell pepper, green onions, key lime juice, cilantro, serrano chili, ginger and garlic in medium bowl and fold together to blend. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover; set aside.

Open husks on a work surface. If necessary, lightly pat with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Form ¼ cup dough into a 4-inch log. Place log in center of husk and pat dough to a 5 x 4-inch rectangle, leaving ½ inch space on one long edge of husk. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons filling down center of dough. Bring long edge of husk up and over filling; continue to roll up wrapper jelly-roll style. Tie ends closed with tips of corn husks or string.

Place tamales on open steamer basket in large skillet. Add water to just below basket level. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to gently simmer water. Cover and steam tamales for 45 to 50 minutes or until tamale dough is cooked through and tamales pull easily away from husks. Open the husk to expose the masa. Spoon peach salsa on top and garnish with cilantro; serve.


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November 22, 2013