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Little Pork Tamales with Red Chile Sauce



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Little Pork Tamales with Red Chile Sauce
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“These tender tamales with smoky, smooth ancho sauce are easy to make,
but they do take some time. However, all the work can be done ahead,
and at the last minute all you need to do is reheat them.”

Servings: Makes about 2 dozen tamales

1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder or butt
5 cups water
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 white corn tortillas, quartered
1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 cup coarse white grits (see Note)
1 cup masa harina
5 cups chicken stock or canned
low-sodium broth
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter,
cut into pieces
24 large dried corn husks (see Note)

Make Ahead: The uncooked tamales can be frozen for up to 1 week.

1. In a saucepan, cover the pork with the water and add1 1/2 teaspoons
of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover partially and simmer over low heat
until the pork is very tender, about 2 hours. Transfer to a plate; cover
with a damp cloth and let cool.
2. Strain the cooking liquid and return it to the saucepan; skim off the
fat. Add the onion, garlic, anchos, tomatoes and tortillas. Bring to a
boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
3. In a skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds over moderate heat until puffed,
about 3 minutes. Puree the ancho mixture with the pumpkin seeds in
batches. Return the puree to the saucepan and simmer over moderate
heat, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season
with salt.
4. In a bowl, combine the grits, masa harina and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
In a saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Slowly stir in
the grits and masa harina. Cover and cook over low heat for 30
minutes, stirring. Add the butter, season with salt and let the dough
cool slightly.
5. Meanwhile, soak the corn husks in water until pliable, about 20
minutes; drain. Shred the pork into a bowl and stir in 3/4 cup of
the ancho sauce; season with salt.
6. Spread a corn husk on a work surface. Spread 3 tablespoons of
the warm tamale dough over the wide end of the husk to form a
1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the pork
filling in the center of the dough. Using the husk, bring the dough
up to enclose the meat. Fold the husk around the dough and fold
the narrow end of the husk under the tamale. Repeat with the
remaining husks, dough and pork filling; rewarm the dough in the
microwave oven or on a plate in a steamer if it cools down.
7. Cook the tamales in a large steamer until heated through and firm
to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Rewarm the
remaining ancho sauce and serve with the tamales.

Notes: Coarse-textured Arrowhead Mills grits are widely available at
health-food and specialty-food stores. Dried corn husks are also
available at specialty-food stores, or you can use fresh husks
--Robert Del Grande

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