Welcome back friends! This week we are creating Abuelita’s tamales from the heartfelt and visually stunning Pixar film, Coco.
Our first two recipes from Frankenweenie (the Double Dutch Cherry Muffins and the Dutch Apple Cake) were featured as actual recipes in a cookbook during a scene in the film, but this is the first recipe we are creating based on our interpretation of what is seen in the film.
Miguel’s family, especially his Abuelita, are very traditional so I tried to find the most traditional recipe for tamales I could. I then took that tamale recipe to my friends and asked them whether or not they believed it was genuine and got a resounding yes!
Tamales take time to make as there are many steps, but if you have family or friends to help, it could go by much quicker! Your reward is a tasty meal that can be enjoyed fresh or frozen for later!
RED CHILI SAUCE
- 15 large dried chillies (ie: anaheim, new mexico, california or pasilla)
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of melted shortening, or 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove any stems and seeds from the dried peppers.
- Place the peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 2 to 5 minutes, or until you smell a sweet roasted aroma (check often to avoid burning).
- Remove the peppers from the oven and soak them in enough hot water to cover for about 30 minutes, or until cool.
- Put the peppers, 2 ½ cups of the soaking water, cumin, garlic and salt into blender (save the remaining soaking water).
- Cover and blend until smooth.
- In a small to medium saucepan, melt the shortening and stir in flour over medium heat until browned.
- Gently stir in blended chili mixture.
- Simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. If the sauce gets too thick, stir in up to 1 cup of the remaining soaking water until you reach the desired thickness.
- 3 ½ lb. of pork shoulder or butt, cut up and trimmed of fat
- 10 cups of water
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 ½ teaspoons of salt
- 3 to 4 cups of red chili sauce (see above)
- ¾ cup of shortening
- 6 cups of masa harina
- 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
- 50 dried corn husks (8 inches)
- In a Dutch oven, bring the pork, water, onion, garlic and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt to boil.
- Simmer covered for about 2 ½ hours or until the meat is very tender.
- Remove the meat from the broth and allow both to cool.
- Using two forks, shred the meat.
- Strain the broth and reserve 6 cups.
- Start to soak corn husks in warm water for at least 20 minutes; rinse to remove any corn silk and drain well.
- In a large sauce pan, heat the red chili sauce and add the shredded meat; simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
- To make the masa, beat shortening on medium speed in a large bowl for 1 minute.
- In separate bowl, stir together masa harina, baking powder and 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Alternately add the masa harina mixture and broth to shortening, beating well after each addition. Add just enough broth to make a thick, creamy paste.
- To assemble each tamale, spread about 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat and sauce mixture in the middle of the masa.
- Fold in the sides of the husk and then fold up the bottom.
- Using strips of corn husk, tie each tamale together.
- Place a mound of husks or a foil ball in the center of your steamer basket.
- Lean the tamales in the basket, open side up.
- Add water to your steamer to just below the basket.
- Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat.
- Cover and steam for 40 minutes, adding water when necessary.
- You can freeze these for future meals, leave them in the husks and place them in freezer bags.