Saturday, January 2, 2016

Milk-Braised Pork Tamales


I don't remember who planted the 'tamale' seed in my head this week, but I've been thinking about making them since New Year's Eve. I finally got around to it today. I decided to make a variation of  maiale al latte - Italian pork in milk - as the meat filling.  Pork braised in milk has s a delicate texture and flavor and the milk slowly evolves into a rich sauce of curds. Okay, it's not particularly photogenic, but it is delicious!


Milk-Braised Pork Ingredients
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless pork roast
  • 1/2 C sliced onions
  • 1/2 C chopped celery
  • olive oil
  • 2 C organic whole milk
  • 1 dried pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. Cook onions and celery until softened and beginning to caramelize. Sear the pork roast on each side, approximately 1 to 2 minutes per side.



Pour in the milk and add the dried pepper and cinnamon stick.



Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is fork-tender, approximately two hours. Uncover pork; simmer until liquid evaporates and pork begins to brown, approximately half an hour. Remove the chili and cinnamon stick and continue to cook, for another 10 minutes, until the pork is nicely browned. Shred pork with a fork.


Tamale Ingredients
  • 6 C masa harina
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C vinegar
  • 4 C organic chicken broth
  • shredded pork
  • 2 C beans, cooked (I used heirloom Anasazi beans)
  • 1 C crumbled cheese (I used a Greek feta)
  • 1/2 C salsa
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro + more for garnish
  • corn husks for wrapping
  • sour cream, for garnish
  • salsa, for garnish

Procedure
For the tamales: Place the corn husks in a large lidded pot. Pour boiling water over the top and cover. Let soak for an hour. Drain when ready to assemble.

For the masa: Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl and stir till it comes together into a ball. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

For the filling: Mix the meat mixture, beans, cheese, salsa, and 1/4 C cilantro together.

To assemble: Lay a corn husk on a cutting board and spoon 1/4 C of the masa into the center. Press it as flat as possible. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon on top of the masa.



 Fold the edge of the corn husk over the stuffing and roll the corn husk to form tight roll.

Place the tamales upright in a large pot, suspended over water. Bring the water to a boil, then cover the pot tightly and steam for 60-70 minutes.


To serve, each diner opens the corn husk on his or her own plate. Garnish with sour cream, salsa, and cilantro leaves.

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