The best tamales I've ever had were a late night treat in Kingwood, TX, following my dear friend Rachel's combination bachelor-bachelorette party. We hit up a tiny 24 hour Mexican restaurant in the shopping center next to our hotel for yet another round of margaritas and cheesy-snacks to soak 'em up. I was presented with a plate of perfect tamales, tied with corn husks, still steaming hot. I've dreamed about them ever since! It was time to make them on my own...
Unfortunately, perfecting a tamale is no easy feat, especially when your tex-mex making experience is limited to meatloaf quesadillas and fish tacos. However once you've made it through the lengthy 6-step process, both you and your dinner mate(s) have something amazing to dig into. Here's what it takes...
Here's what to do:
1. Make the Pork: Add a 4lb pork shoulder, 10 cups water, 2 sliced onions, 5 cloves garlic and 4 teaspoons salt to a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 2.5 hours. Let the meat cool in the broth, then shred with two forks; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, follow this recipe for the red chili sauce.
3. Next follow this recipe from Ingrid Hoffman's for tamale dough. Find it here on the Food Network website.
4. Make the tamales: Soak the corn husks in water until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the husks from the water and dry slightly. Spread some dough down the center of one corn husk, top with some shredded pork, red chili sauce and any other ingredient you'd like (I used fresh corn but beans would be great too). Roll the husk tightly into a package, then fold the bottom up and tie with a pie of kitchen twine, or a strip of corn husk, to that the bottom is closed securely, leaving the top of the tamale open. Repeat with remaining corn husks until the dough and pork runs out. (If you don't have corn husks, use small squares of tin foil to wrap the tamales.) Steam the tamales in a steamer basket set over water for about 40 minutes. Remove and enjoy!