The Three Day Tamale Challenge
Ahhhh tamales! Delightful, fluffy clouds of flavor. I will always crave tamales during the holidays since living in South Texas. In Texas, tamales are a holiday must. Equivalent to pumpkin pie or even stuffing. They never fail to put you in the holiday spirit!
If you are reading this then you probably have eaten tamales before. Nothing can compare to unwrapping a steaming corn husk and tasting that delicious masa wrapped meat filling. Sinful I tell you!
I have always wanted to make my own tamales but have always thought it was just too difficult. Well I am here to tell you that you can learn to make your own delicious tamales in just three Days. That’s right….THREE DAYS!!
In our Three Day Tamale Challenge you will learn how to make the filling, the masa dough, and the final assembly of the tamale. (Folding!)
Jump to Recipe Killer Tamale Filling
Some Tamale History
Tamales have been around for quite some time. Try 5000 BC! Women were taken into battle to prepare food for the soldiers during war. Masa was used to make tortillas and the women also cooked stews, wild game, and more for the soldiers. As populations grew the demand for an easily portable sustainable food arose. The process of making the corn ready is called nixtamalization. Nixtamal is an Aztec word to describe corn that has been partially cooked and soaked with calcium hydroxide, otherwise referred to as cal or lime. (Wikipedia) This made the corn grain more nutritious, easier to grind, and greatly improved the flavor and the smell. This process was utilized and BOOM! The birth of the tamale.
For more fun tamale history click here: http://www.tamarastamales.com/his.tamale.html
How to Make a KILLER Filling for Tamales
Most of the tamales I have eaten either have a pork, beef, or chicken filling. But as our cooking knowledge has evolved chefs have created other non-conventional fillings. Lobster, shrimp, and crab to name a few. I recently made venison tamales, which are much like beef tamales. (They were incredible!!!)
If you are acquainted with slow cooking roasts in a slow cooker, then you can make a filling! Any of your favorite recipes that result in shredded chicken, beef, or pork, etc will work.
I will provide you with my favorite base filling. PORK! Cheap and flavorful! You can substitute beef and chicken into this recipe as well. I usually use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if making chicken, and a nice chuck roast or ground beef for the beef filling.
You will also be making an awesome chipotle pepper red tamale sauce to go with your filling. Jump to Recipe
It will be mixed into your pork filling later as well as being a dipping sauce on the side.
Both these recipes are made on day one. Make your tamale sauce while your roast is slow cooking. Tip: I start slow cooking my roast at about 9:00 pm at night so I can set it and forget it. (The night before day one) Then first thing in the morning I can take care of the roast and have plenty of time to make my tamale sauce. Mange your own time as you see fit. The filling, sauce, and masa can sit in your fridge for days before you use them. So don’t feel rushed. Three days is just a nice Friday, Saturday, Football Sunday Tamale Feast I like to implement because it gives your ingredients the critical time they need to sit.
Killer Pork Tamale Filling
This flavorful shredded pork filling has just the right amount of spice for your homemade tamales. Fall apart juicy pork is cooked in wine, beef and chicken stock along with dried peppers.
- 1 5 quart slow cooker / Crock Pot You can use an InstantPot or Pressure Cooker as well.
- 1 3 to 5 pound Pork Shoulder The shoulder has a lot of fat. Make sure you remove fat before or after its cooked.
- 2 each Thai Chili Peppers Dried I used peppers from my garden that I dried.
- 2 each Poblano Peppers Dried You can use any dried or fresh peppers you like. They will be taken out later.
- 1 cup Red Wine
- 2 cup Beef Broth
- 1 cup Chicken stock or water chicken stock adds more flavor
- 1 each Whole onion chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 tbs Salt
- 1 tbs Pepper
- 1 tbs Oregano
- 1 tsp Cumin
Grease your slow cooker with lard or Crisco so nothing will stick. Use a paper towel to spread it evenly over the surface.
Dice up the onion and garlic and throw it into the bottom of your crock pot or slow cooker. (You can also use a pressure cooker, the time will be faster) Add any dried or fresh peppers you would like. I use two dried Thai chili peppers, and two dried poblano peppers.
Pour one cup of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet) on top of the onions and peppers. Carefully place the pork shoulder on top of the onions and peppers. (You can trim the fat and cut your roast into pieces if you want, but I leave it whole.)
Pour in the two cups of beef broth over the top of the pork shoulder. Next add the chicken stock. (We are adding lots of stock to be used later to make the masa).
Sprinkle top of roast with salt, pepper, Oregano, and cumin. Set your slow cooker on low, cover, and let it cook for 8 hours. (If using a pressure cooker, set pressure to high, and pressure cook for 50 mins.)
After 8 hours, check the roast to see if it is fall apart tender yet. If so, then turn off slow cooker and let sit for an hour to let the meat suck up as much juice as it can. If needed, continue cooking for 2 more hours.
When meat has cooled down considerably, take out the roast and place onto a cutting board. Discard any dried peppers at this time. Now shred your meat up and place into a container and place in the refrigerator. It is important that it gets cold in the fridge over night.
Strain the leftover broth liquid in the pot into a container and place into the refrigerator. When it gets cold, you will be able to skim off the fat, and the awesome stock will be left behind for you to use in your masa recipe.
Easy Chipotle Pepper Tamale Sauce
This quick and easy sauce is made with canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
- 1 7 or 8oz Can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
- 1 28 oz Crushed or diced Tomatoes San Marzano are the best!
- 1 tbs Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 cloves Finely diced garlic
- 1/2 each Onion diced
- 1/2 each Poblano Pepper Diced (Can substitute with a sweet pepper for less spice)
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 tbs pepper
- 1/2 tbs oregano
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
Dice up the onions, pepper, and garlic. Add the butter to a sauce pan and melt on medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook until soft. (Around 5 mins) Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minuet.
Add in the canned tomatoes and all contents of the canned Chipotle peppers with the sauce. Stir gently.
Add the sugar, salt, pepper and oregano. Stir and bring to a boil then bring down to a simmer. Simmer on low for two hours.
After the two hours are up, turn off the burner and let sauce cool. Once your sauce is cooled down, use a stick blender or food processor to blend into a smooth sauce. Pour your sauce into a mason jar or other container and place into the refrigerator. This sauce will later be mixed with your Killer Pork Tamale Filling.
Now that you have your filling and sauce chilling in the fridge, day two is gonna be a breeze! Are you ready? I am! Onward to day two!!!!
Until we meet again….
Farmer, Crafter, Blogger