Today we are combining two very delicious Mexican dishes into one: chile verde, which is pork in a spicy green sauce, and tamales. These chile verde tamales are simple to make, but do take a little time. I usually prepare the filling (in this case, the chile verde) one day in advance to save time.
Preparing tamales with family or friends is what makes them so fun, so that’s what I do. When I made these, I invited a very good friend over and we had a great time talking, cooking and laughing.
Here is the recipe:
Chile Verde Tamales
Makes approx 35 tamales
For the filling (chile verde):
- 2 pounds pork meat like pork shoulder or pork tri tip
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 pepper corns
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 pounds tomatillos, peeled and washed
- 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 white onion
- 1 big bunch of cilantro
For the masa
- 4 cups tamal flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 2/3 cups pork broth
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable shortening
You will also need
- 1 (8 oz) package corn husks
- 1 tamalera or big steam pot with steamer
- 1 kitchen cloth towel or cloth napkin
Cover 40-45 corn husks with hot water, place a heavy pan on top to make sure all the husks stay covered. Let them soak for 45 minutes. If you are making your filling in advance, soak the corn husks the day you are making the tamales.
Make the Chile Verde
Place pork, bay leaves, pepper and 2 teaspoons salt in a pressure cooker, cover the meat with water and cook according to your pressure cooker’s instruction manual (Note: Every pressure cooker is different, in mine it took 40 minutes). You can also use a slow cooker or a pot, but this will take longer. Whichever method you choose, in the end, you will need to have very tender pork meat and at least 3 cups of broth. When the meat is done, take it out of the broth and let it rest for a few minutes. Reserve the broth for later.
Shred the pork.
Put tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic cloves, onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, cilantro, and one cup of water or meat broth in a blender and mix.
Pour sauce in a medium pot over high heat, add the shredded pork, taste and adjust salt. When the sauce starts boiling, lower the temperature and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain the corn husks. You will see that they come in different sizes, use the bigger ones for the tamales and use a few smaller ones to make the ties.
Make the Tamales
Mix tamal flour, salt and baking powder. Pour broth and mix until well integrated. Place the vegetable shortening in a big bowl and beat until creamy and fluffy. Add the tamal mixture and with you hands mix all ingredients for 5-7 minutes. The masa will be a little coarse, wet and spreadable.
Before starting, take 2-3 of the husks, depending on their sizes, and separate them into thin strips about 1/4 inch thick to use as ties to secure the tamales (See photos or video).
Take one corn husk, spread 1-2 tablespoons of masa on half the corn husk, starting 1/2 inch from the top of the wider end and leaving 1 inch on one side. Add one teaspoon of the filling in the middle. Fold both sides to cover the filling, the side with no masa will be on top. Then fold the tamal in half and tie. Continue until you have finished with all the masa.
Pour water in the tamalera or steamer, being careful to keep the level low enough so as not to touch the tamales when the are placed in it. Cover the bottom of the tamalera colander with a few corn husks, and place your tamales vertically with the open side up. Cover with more corn husks (if you have any left) then with a wet kitchen towel. Cover and, over high heat, steam for 1 hour. Always carefully open your tamalera or steamer to avoid injury from the steam. Make sure to check on the water level of the steamer a couple of times so it doesn’t run dry. After 1 hour, turn off the heat and let them rest for 10 minutes. Remove tamales with tongs.
The tamales are ready when they easily pull away from the husk. If you notice that they are sticky, steam for 10 more minutes.