Because I bought the roast pork to assemble these tamales, I’ll let you call me lazy. For our second Supper with Strangers, our featured ingredient was corn and we served mini roast pork tamales as amuse-bouches. How lucky was I to discover homemade pork stock from the Dr.’s fridge made from the leftover pig’s trotters I bought last week? (Thanks for letting me gloat.) Sure you can also use store-bought stock, but it made a difference here. Of course, if you roast your own pork, then you can save the stock when you boil the pork before roasting.
Even though the pork was store-bought, these tamales still required some work. I soaked the dried corn husks for about an hour before I sat down to assemble them, and when the husks weren’t quite pliable, I soaked them overnight. You can get masa harina from the Spanish or Mexican aisle of your grocery store or ask for the flour they use to make tortillas. It should be where the corn husks are if your store is organized.
Use a whole corn husk if you want to make your tamales bigger and obviously use a larger ball of masa and pork. If they’re bigger, then you can get away with just putting a heavy bowl over them to keep them closed until you’re ready to steam. If making extras for later, store in a resealable freezer bag and steam frozen for an extra 5 minutes.
6 dried corn husks, rinsed clean, soaked in water overnight, dried with paper towel, halved
2 cups roast pork, shredded with a fork
2 cups masa harina
half a stick of butter, melted in the microwave
1. Get your masa ready. In a large bowl, combine masa harina with the butter, chili powder, salt and some of the pork stock. Mix with your hands and pour in a little bit of the stock at a time until the consistency is spreadable.
2. Assemble the tamales. Starting with a spoonful of masa, mix in a bit of the shredded roast pork and make a small ball with your hands. Spread masa with pork on half a corn husk with your fingers. Fold sides until they just overlap and then fold the top and bottom flaps over. You can tear a thin strip of corn husk to use as a ribbon to tie each tamales close.
3. When ready to cook, boil some water in a large skillet. Steam tamales in a metal colander placed inside the skillet for 15 minutes, covered.