Tamales Rojos de Abuelita

Karla Gutierrez, from our Creative Department, says her grandma is the best cook in the world and no other tamale can compare to hers. They have always been a holiday tradition since she can remember. “I always bring some back with me after the holidays, and just one bite immediately takes me back home and puts a smile in my heart and on my lips.” Try them for yourselves. Yum, yum, good.

Only use real corn husks. The corn husks are KEY to giving the tamales flavor. If you don’t use real corn husks, you aren’t making tamales!

Tamales on a platePrepare the corn husks
Soak the husks in a sink full of warm water for about 2 hours. You will need to separate them carefully when they get soft. Try not to tear or damage the corn husks. It is easier to make the tamales if the husks are in one piece.

Tamales on a plateFilling
8½ lbs. pork loin
Chiles rojos (pasilla/ancho)
3 large garlic cloves
4 bay leafs
10-12 peppercorns

15½ lbs. of tamale dough
2 teaspoons baking powder
7 teaspoons salt
1 liter beef broth
3 lbs. melted lard

Cook pork about 45 minutes or until tender. Add salt. Rehydrate the dry chiles in hot water. Devein and remove seeds. Place them in a blender with the skins. Add a bit of the water to the blender and mix. Shred the pork and place in a pot. Add 1 cup of the broth and the chiles. Place the mixture on the stove and cook for 30 minutes. Season with salt and oregano.

Building the tamales
Soak the corn husks until soft, and then place them on a towel and pat dry. Place a husk on the palm of your hand. With a spatula, smear the dough on the husk. Leave the edges of the husk free of dough to fold later.

When you have covered 5 to 10 husks with masa, it is time to add the meat. Take about 1 tablespoon of meat, and place it in the middle of the masa. Fold the top of the husk over like an envelope and place the filled tamale on the counter with the folded edge facing down. Repeat this process.

Place the tamales in the steamer basket. Add about 3 pints of water to the pot. Keep the folded end of the tamale facing down. The open end of the tamale should be on top. The tamales need to be packed tightly so they don’t unfold. Cover the pot, and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for at least 2 hours. Check water level and add water if needed. After 2 hours, take one tamale out and unwrap it to make sure the masa is firm and cooked all the way through. Place on a serving dish and serve.

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