These are pork tamales in every sense-the filling is pork and the stock and lard mixed with the masa are all from a pig. Traditionally in Latin America, they are eaten on holidays and special occasions, and making them is a process, and you usually make about 100 at a time. They also freeze well, and you can take them out and steam them at any time. It's best to ask for people to help and plan on making lots.
Step 1: Slow Cook Pork
We broke down a whole pig, and are lucky enough to have a sous vide machine, so I put about 12 pounds of pork roast into the sous vide overnight at 140. It was super tender. If you don't have a whole pig or sous vide, buy pork shoulder or pork butt and slow cook it over a very low heat for 6 hours or cook it overnight in a crockpot. You can also add two cloves of garlic, a roughly chopped onion, and salt and pepper. Save the stock that it cooked in and use this when mixing the masa.
Step 2: Make Adobo Sauce
Use 10 dried ancho peppers and 10 dried pasilla peppers. Heat up a pan of water and soak these in the water. When they have softened, take them from the water, but don't discard it.
Remove the seeds and stems from the chili peppers. Put them in a food processor with 1 onion, 1 head of garlic, and 3 tbsps of cumin. Add 1.5 cups of the water you soaked the chilies in. Puree this into a sauce. Put this into a large saucepan and add 1 tbsp. of sugar and 1 tbsp. of vinegar and bring to a simmer.
Step 3: Simmer Pork in Adobo Sauce
Save the water you cooked the pork in. Remove the pork, shred it and add it to the adobo sauce. Keep it on a very low simmer.
Step 4: Mix Masa With Lard and Stock
The ratio used here will all depend on the directions on the package. All masa is different, so it's best to follow it. I used Maseca masa.
12 cups MASECA
14 cups pork broth
2.5 cups lard
2 tablespoon baking powder
2.5 tablespoons salt
Blend these together until they have a thick paste substance.
Step 5: Spread Masa in Corn Husks
Take two corn husks that have been soaked for at least 2 hours, and lay them on top of one another. Spread about 1/4 cup of masa in the husk. Smear it in the right hand corner of the leaves, leaving a few inches empty below and about 1 inch on the left side of the husk with no masa. Put in pork filling. We also added a little Oaxacan cheese and roasted poblano peppers.
Step 6: Roll Tamales
Start rolling from left to right, then when you reach the center, fold the bottom part of the corn husk upwards. Continue to roll until you reach the end.
Step 7: Steam Tamales
Put meat broth or water in the bottom of a large steamer. This should not be touching the bottom of the tamales, but also be careful it doesn't evaporate or you'll scorch the pan and tamales. Place your tamales in the steamer, cover and let them steam for 2 hours over a medium flame.
Step 8: Serve!
Tamales are pretty festive just on their own, but a little guacamole and salsa on the side are good also.