Chilebrown at home


Let's get Cookin!!!

Friday, December 18, 2015


The holidays are here and that can mean only one thing. It is Christmas tamale time. Ever since I was a wee little Mad Meat Genius I have enjoyed tamales at Christmas time. My friend’s mom with help from the women relatives would make a plethora of different flavored tamales this time of year. Chicken, pork, beef and even a sweet tamal with brown sugar and raisins would be made. We would eat our fill and it was good. This time of year I like to recreate this childhood memory by making tamales with my own twist. We are making tamales with some smoked pork shoulder. This should be good.

This was a project that took several days of preparation. The first step was to create the pulled pork. A beautiful pork shoulder was trimmed of fat and massaged with our rub of the day. An eight hour sauna bath in the smoker that was fueled by apple and hickory wood would do the trick. It looked gorgeous with a intoxicating smell to match. You know we had to give this roast a test ride with dinner that night. We had our fill with the added bonus of leftovers for the filling of our tamales.

The next step was to get some fresh masa. We are lucky to be near plenty of Mexican markets. They carry fresh masa. They are sold in three pound packages and are very inexpensive. They also carried different masa flavored with chile peppers, strawberries and pineapple. This sounds very interesting.. This lit the light bulb in my noggin. Why not flavor our masa with some chile powder. A friend gifted me some Hatch green chile powder. This might work.

 My first plan was to make a sauce to accompany and flavor the tamales. This sauce consisted of onions, tomatillos, roasted Hatch peppers, chicken stock and spices. These ingredients were sauteed in a pan until soft. The cooled mixture with the addition of fresh cilantro was placed in a food processor to be pulsed to a chunky consistency. Some was added to our left over pork adding another level of flavor. The rest was reserved to serve with the finished tamales.

It is time to assemble. Corn husks were soaked in hot water to soften. We added Hatch chile powder to our masa. A husk is placed on the board. I used a measuring quarter cup to scoop fresh chile spiked masa to place on the husk. I spread the masa over the husk. A generous amount of sauce flavored pork was placed in the center. We rolled the husk to form a cigar shaped form. One end was folded up. Some people like to fold both ends and use a fancy tie to fasten the ends. I have learned from experience that this is not necessary. When you steam the tamales make sure the open end is elevated with the folded end on the bottom of the steamer. This works for us.

We used a bamboo steamer to steam our little packages of fun. Forty five minutes later and it was time to eat. Ms. Goofy proclaimed these were the best tamale’s ever. I did not pay her to say that. (This time).  She liked the meat to masa ratio which was heavy on the meat. The chile spiked masa was a nuanced flavor that was pleasant. These tamales did have a chile heat bite from the roasted Hatch pepper sauce and flavoring. We served our tamales with some homemade refried beans flavored with bacon lard. The filling of smoked pork was stellar. Oh my! This was a comforting and filling meal. We have created new Christmas tamale memories today.


Greg said...

I love it when a plan comes together! A-team!

Ms Goofy said...

I'm not usually a big fan of tamales, but these were full of flavorful meat and just the right amount of masa. I may have to change my view of tamales if Paul is making them! Loved them!

Smokey Luv said...

I'm planning a tamale making party for Christmas Eve, so I will be sure to try your hatch chili powder trick in the masa!

Chilebrown MadMeatGenius said...

Greg, A tasty plan that almost could not fail. Great ingredients usually work.

Ms. Goofy, Whenever you want to help we can make some more. It is a lot of work for this Mad Meat Genius.

Smokey Luv, I did omit one step when using the green chile powder. I took a quarter cup of warm chicken broth to make a slurry with the powder. It then was mixed into the masa. Good luck.

Three Dogs BBQ said...

I have never tried tamales. I think I need to try this and soon. Looks great!

Chilebrown MadMeatGenius said...

Three Dogs BBQ, That reminds me of a story when Ms. Goofy and I were in a restaurant in San Diego. A women at an adjoining table had ordered tamales. It was obvious that she had never had them before because she was trying to bite through the husk wrapper. Ms. Goofy did not want me to say anything but being the gentleman that I used to be I politely told her it was easier to eat the tamale by removing the husk. I am not sure if she was grateful or embarrassed. Do not try to eat the husk.

Preston Mitchell said...

Where did you get your green chile and chile powder?

Chilebrown MadMeatGenius said...

Preston Mitchell, The green chile was from our local store last summer. It originally was from New Hatch. I bought a case, fire roasted and froze. The powder was gifted from a friend who bought it some were in New Mexico. Sorry I could not be of more help.

Chilebrown MadMeatGenius said...

Preston Mitchell, I am not sure why I say New Hatch. I have made this mistake before. It is Hatch peppers from New Mexico.

Chris said...

I love, love, love tamales and yours sound spot on with what I like. We didn't make tamales for Christmas though. Note to self: Break into Chilebrown's house and steal tamales.

Chilebrown MadMeatGenius said...

Chris, No reason to break in because you are always welcome. You may have to arm wrestle Ms.Goofy for the last tamale though.