Pork is the most traditional filling for tamales in Central Mexico. Pork has more natural moisture than beef and so makes a good filling for tamales. This recipe provides a useful means of using up ends of loins or other cuts of pork not used for entrees. The flavors of tropical fruit and pork go particularly well together, which is why the Manchamantel sauce is the perfect accompaniment for this tamale.

For the carnitas

Put pork, water, chile, salt, garlic and onion on a heavy saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Roast spices and oregano in a dry sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant.

In a spice mill, grind spices and oregano to a powder. Add t pork and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/2 hours until tender, adding more water as needed. Increase heat and cook until all liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat slightly and continue to cook, stirring until the cubes of meat are a mahogany brown. Let cool.

For the tamales

Shred cooked carnitas by hand. Mix together masa harina and stock with a spoon or whisk.

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, baking powder, salt, fennel, cayenne and paprika until light and fluffy. Incorporate masa in 2-ounce increments (4 tablespoons), whisking until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes total. Divide masa and carnitas filling evenly between corn husks, roll and tie tamales, and steam for about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve over Manchamantel sauce.

Serves 4.

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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)