Tag Archives: meat

Tamale Time

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tamales to steam

I make a big batch of tamales several times a year. Yesterday I made a batch of pork and green chile tamales. They are not at all difficult to make and they freeze really well. They are also easy to re-steam. Here is the recipe, but keep in mind the filling can be any number of things, from chiles and cheese to chicken, pork, crab, beef etc. Once you get the rolling technique down you will be able to make them with anything. I often triple this recipe. This recipe makes about 20 good sized tamales. You can make them smaller if you are using them as an appetizer.

filling and husks
You will need: 

Cornhusks or banana leaves for wrappers

String

4 cups of Masa para tamales (this can be found in the Hispanic aisle of most large grocery stores.

1 1/2 cups of home rendered lard (see here how to do it and why) or butter

4 cups of good stock (I used duck stock, but turkey chicken or veal stock works great)

2 tablespoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

A large pot fitted for steaming. You need a lot of water for this, so raise your steaming basket to allow for a lot of water. This has to boil for 40-60 minutes.

filling

Filling: 

2 tablespoons lard or olive oil
2 cups of well seasoned shredded pork shoulder (see my recipe here for making smoked braised pork shoulder Latin style).

1 onion finely chopped

6-8 roasted poblano chiles seeded, skinned and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (or in a pinch you can use canned green chiles)

8 cloves of garlic finely minced

1 tablespoon Vik’s Garlic Fix

1 tablespoon Sweet Onion Sugar

1 teaspoon of smoked salt (I make my own, but you can buy it here)

2 tablespoons of Ancho Chile powder

1/2 cup of stock

queso

2 cups of Queso para Quesedillas, para papusas or Jack cheese grated. Any good melting cheese is fine for this.

sauce

Sauce:

4 tablespoons of masa para tamales

4 tablespoons of house rendered lard or butter

1 cup of New Mexico Red or Green Chile powder

3 cups of good stock

Method

Cut lengths of string long enough to wrap the tamales. There are different ways of folding and wrapping the tamales, but this is my favorite way to do it. You can also tie just the ends or you can fold it so there is one side open and don’t even use strings. If you do this, you must place them upright in your steamer. Some people use parchment paper instead of corn husks or banana leaves.

Soak the corn husks in hot water, weight them down so they are immersed. Just before making the tamales, pour out the water. If you are using banana leaves they need to be heated to soften. I blanch them and place them on a wet towel.

In a stand mixer (or bowl with a beater) whip the cold lard for about 3 minutes on high speed till it is fluffy

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir. Fold that and the stock into the lard. Mix until a very moist (but not sticky) dough forms. Chill for about 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

masa

In a large skillet melt the lard and add onions. Stir and cook till the onions are translucent, add garlic in a hot spot and stir, then add the chiles and spices and finally deglaze the pan with the stock and allow to simmer till the stock is absorbed, then cool.

Set up a station on a table or counter top. You will need the masa, the cheese, the filling, the string and a platter to stack the finished tamales on.

tamale ready to fold

Start with about 1/2 cup of masa on a corn husk. Fold the sides of the husk where you will want the ends of the tamales to be and spread the masa with the folded husk. Do the same thing with the top and bottom of the husk so that the dough is spread out and you end up with a square of dough about 4″ X 4″. You will need to select the husks that are large enough to accommodate this size of tamale. You should have at least an inch of exposed husk on all sides. Place the filling in the center of the masa and lightly push down on it. Then take the bottom end of the husk and roll it forward to meet the end of the dough. Pull the dough forward making the two ends of dough meet. Then fold in the sides and roll the tamale. Place the string under the tamale and tie like a package. Repeat till you have used all of the dough or filling.

tamale folded

In a steam pot, place the tamales on a rack, cover and boil vigorously for 40-50 minutes. While you are steaming make the sauce.

Chile Sauce:

You can use New Mexico Red or Green Chile powder for this. I used red this time, but my next batch of corn, cheese and chile tamales I am making green sauce.

Make a roux of the masa and lard, stir till slightly brown. Add the chile powder and stir, then whisk in the stock. Allow to simmer and thicken slightly. Keep warm till ready to serve.

To serve, open the husks and remove the tamales to a plate. The masa should be soft and supple, yet firm enough to hold together. Spoon the sauce over and add additional cheese, crema and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

tamales steamed

tamales plated 2

 

 

 

 

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Smoked and Braised Pork Shoulder Latin Style

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plate 2 This recipe has been one I have used for years. I used to make it at my cooking school for Cuban Night. I change out a few things here and there to go more Italian or more Cuban. Even if you do not have a smoker this is delicious braised or done in a slow cooker or dutch oven. You simply make a paste in the food processor and then make slits in the pork shoulder (bone in or out, your choice). Marinate it over night, smoke the next morning and then finish it off in a crock pot or in a dutch oven in the oven.  Note: I do not add salt before cooking, but I offer it at the table. 

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Ingredients:

1 cup each of packed cilantro and flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup each of coriander, cumin and fennel seeds toasted

30 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup crushed red pepper (the kind you put on pizza)

1/4 cup pink pepper berries (optional)

1 tablespoon hickory powder if you are not smoking the meat

1/4 cup olive oil (I use smoked oil that I make)

1 5-7 pound pork shoulder (get them on sale and freeze)

2# Yukon Gold Potatoes

3 large onions, quartered

2 cans of beer

1/4 cup Spice and Tea Exchange Sweet Onion Sugar (optional)

Method:

Put the cilantro, parsley seeds, garlic, pepper berries, crushed red pepper, hickory powder if you are not smoking and the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse till you have a thick paste.

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Put on latex gloves if you have them, this gets messy. Cut 1 1/2 inch slits into the meat on all sides. Stuff the slits with the paste. If you have any paste left over, smear it on the meat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
porchetta
Remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Meanwhile set up your smoker and turn your grill on high.

Sear the meat on all sides on the grill. Then place in the smoker at about 200 degrees over a drip pan and smoke for 6 hours. If you do not have a smoker, go directly to the slow cooker or roaster but cook for 8-10 hours on low.

Porchetta out of the smoker

Prepare the roaster or slow cooker by placing a bed of Yukon Gold potatoes (small ones or cut larger ones in half) and the onions. Sometimes I add other root vegetables too. Place the meat directly on the bed of veggies. pour two cans or bottles of beer over the meat. Sprinkle the sweet onion sugar all over.

Roast at 350 degrees covered with foil or in a dutch oven. Or you can use a slow cooker on high for 4 hours (either method).  It is just that easy. The leftovers are sometimes my favorite part… tamales, tacos pulled pork sandwiches. 🙂

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Beer Braised Horseradish Meatballs

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Inspired by a post on my friend’s blog:He Cooks She Cooks about their meatballs, I developed this tweak using some twists of my own and some ingredients from the Spice and Tea Exchange of Charleston, where I work. I have provided links for these ingredients but you can make substitutions for them if you need to. These meatballs are made with the traditional meatloaf mix of beef, veal and pork, but you can use just beef and pork if you cannot find veal, or you can substitute ground turkey for the veal. They are mixed with lots of aromatics and interesting flavors and then braised in beer and chicken stock which also has lemon and hot peppers floating about. The sauce is a rich sour cream based horseradish sauce. It is easy to put together and I had a large container of meatballs left for another use. I made mine about 1 1/2 inches in size so that I can use the leftovers for appetizers.

Beer Braised Horseradish Meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 pounds of meatball mix using beef, pork and veal or just beef and pork
  • 1/3 cup extra strong horseradish
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup extra fine panko or bread crumbs
  • 1 cup finely diced onion (I used a purple onion)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup dried shallots reconstituted and strained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill weed
  • 4 Tablespoons Spice and Tea Exchange Sweet Onion Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Feta Cheese Powder
  • 1/4 cup Vic’s Garlic Fix (you can substitute minced garlic)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of butter and 1/8 cup of olive oil for browning

Braising Liquid

  • 1 bottle of beer (I used a light amber)
  • 1 1/2 cups of good chicken stock
  • juice and peel of one lemon
  • 4 hot peppers (serrano)
  • one bay leaf

Sauce

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup braising liquid
  • 1/4 cup horseradish
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • lemon  pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

Method: 

  • In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together till they are finely blended
  • Make into golf ball sized meatballs
  • Place on a tray on parchment paper and chill for one hour
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Make braising liquid and simmer in a Dutch oven
  • In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil and brown the meatballs in batches. When they are all browned place in the hot braising liquid, cover and braise in the oven for 30 minutes

When the meatballs are finished, remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Make the sauce, in a frying pan and add the warmed meatballs. Serve over noodles or rice or put toothpicks on them and serve the sauce on the side.

 

Ancho and Brown Sugar Crusted Smoked Corned Beef

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I made one of these for St. Patricks Day, but there were no leftovers! And I am a woman that loves a good Ruben Sandwich. So when I noticed that the corned beefs were on sale , I just had to buy another. I have a Digital Bradley Smoker which is one of my favorite pieces of cooking equipment. This is my second one, my first one was not digital, I bought it 12 years ago before they came out with the digital model. But you can do this with any smoker that does not place the food directly above the heat.

Make your rub:

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup dried Ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon crushed black pepper

1 tablespoon mustard seeds slightly crushed

1 Tablespoon fennel slightly crushed

Open your package of corned beef (or of course you can make your own easily, but that is another post) Pour the juice from the package into a dutch oven and reserve.

Apply the rub to the meat and place in smoker on low heat  for 4 hours.

Place the meat in the dutch oven and add 1 onion sliced and one pound of carrots cut up. Add liquid (beer or water) till it almost touches the top of the corned beef.

Bake at 350 for two hours.

Remove and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Slice and plate. I like to serve this with Champ (mashed potatoes with cream and chives).

Next comes the Rubens for tonight’s dinner!