Mom’s Recipes

Tamale Filling




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2.2 pounds I 1 kilogram bone-in beef and pork (chuck/shoulder/butt), cut into small pieces

1 dried ancho chile

2 dried guajillo chiles

2 dried morita chiles

2 dried cascabel chiles

1 whole garlic bulb

Olive oil for drizzling

Coarse kosher or sea salt to taste

¼ cup | 60 milliliters white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon | 7½ grams ground cumin

4 black peppercorns, crushed, plus more freshly ground to taste

2 cloves

Pinch of dried oregano, preferably Mexican, plus more for garnish

2 bay leaves

1 cup | 52 grams diced red onion

½ cup | 118 grams piquin chiles


Day 1: Roast ingredients and make the overnight marinade for the meat

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). Using a damp paper towel and wearing gloves, wipe the ancho, guajillo, morita and cascabel chiles. Destem, deseed and devein the ancho and guajillo chiles. Arrange all the chiles on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and toast until just puffed and fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven immediately, discard the foil and set aside the chiles for the marinade.

Next, prep the garlic. Cut ½ inch (or 13 millimeters) off the top of the whole garlic bulb so the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, then wrap and seal tightly in foil.

After the chiles are toasted, increase the oven temperature to 375 F (190 C). Place the foil-wrapped whole garlic bulb directly on the rimmed baking sheet. Roast garlic until fragrant, golden and soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once the bulb has cooled, unwrap and squeeze out the cloves. Set aside 2 cloves for the marinade and refrigerate the remaining roasted garlic in an airtight container for another use for up to 2 weeks.

Increase the oven temperature to 450 F (232 C). Halve the tomatoes and transfer them to a bowl. Generously drizzle with olive oil and season with salt to taste. Mix until the tomatoes are evenly coated. Arrange the tomatoes directly on the rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the tomatoes and their juices to an airtight container. Refrigerate overnight, reserving for the consommé.

2. Make the marinade. Place the reserved ancho, guajillo, morita and cascabel chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water to rehydrate, about 20 minutes. Drain and combine chiles in a food processor with 2 cups (or 473 milliliters) water, vinegar, 2 roasted garlic cloves, cumin, crushed peppercorns, cloves, oregano and salt to taste. Strain the chiles if needed to remove bits of skin (if using a high-powered blender this step may not be necessary).

3. Season the meat with salt and place it in a Dutch oven or large pot. Cover the meat with the chile marinade and refrigerate for 24 hours to marinate.

Day 2: Cook the meat and the consommé

4. Pressure cooker: Place the meat and the marinade in a pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure and cook until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Slow cooker version: Alternatively, place the meat and the marinade in a slow cooker and cook low heat, until the meat falls apart and is easy to shred, about 10 hours.

Remove from heat and let the meat rest until cool, then separate the meat from the pan juices. Reserve the liquid for the consommé. Shred the meat.

5. Put the pan juices in a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Transfer broth to a pot, add bay leaves and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. When done, remove bay leaves and discard. Add meat back in.


To make tamales: soak ojas for hours, use prepared masa and add some of the meat sauce, spread and fill with meat, two green olive slices, one raisin.




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