Tag Archives: Chile Colorado

Costillas de Puerco en Chile Colorado (Chile Ancho Braised Pork Ribs)

One of my all time favorite recipes that reminds of Mom and home are Costillas de Puerco en Chile Colorado. These country style boneless ribs are seared and browned at high heat and then braised in a homemade chile ancho sauce for almost 3 hours. The results are a tender, moist and flavorful rib. I don’t think my Mom ever used the boneless version of the country style ribs, but I find them to be economical and you don’t have to worry about any small, sharp bones. My ispiration for wanting to cook these ribs, was that I wanted to prepare a special batch of pork tamales for my good friend Olivia. She used to help me prep for hours in the early mornings when I was cooking a Mexican lunch in one of the local towns. Prep work can be tedious and not everyone has the nack or the patience for it. I often say that it’s my “kitchen therapy”. I wanted to surprise her on our upcoming visit with these tamales. This was the fastest batch of tamales I ever prepared, LOL! Plus I was anxious to try out my new vintage steamer pot that I found for a good price at the antique center. It worked like a charm for a small batch of tamales.  And with the remaining part of the ribs, we enjoyed them with rice,  beans  and warm tortillas. The best!

**Don’t forget to check out my recipe for tamales at the end of this post using the delicious recipe for Costillas de Puerco en Chile Colorado!!

Costillas de Puerco en Chile Colorado

Costillas de Puerco en Chile Colorado

Ingredients

10 chile ancho, stems and seeds removed
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Maggi Sauce
salt to taste

Chile Ancho has to be one of my most favorite of the dried chile peppers.
Chile Ancho has to be one of my most favorite of the dried chile peppers.
Depending on how old the dried pepper are, your sauce can come out anywhere from bright red to a dark reddish brown color.
Depending on how old the dried pepper are, your sauce can come out anywhere from bright red to a dark reddish brown color.

 

You will also need
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork country style ribs
salt
pepper
garlic powder
2 more cups broth

*Grapeseed or canola oil

 

Investing in a few oven proof skillets and pans comes in handy when you have recipes that require you to brown and braise the meat.
Investing in a few oven proof skillets and pans comes in handy when you have recipes that require you to brown and braise the meat.

 

1. Cover the chile ancho with water. Bring to a boil , reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid and transfer to the blender. To the chiles, add 2 cups broth, cumin seeds, garlic, onion, oregano, pepper, Maggi sauce, and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.

2. Season the pork with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides. In a deep skillet, add 4 tablespoons of oil. Preheat to medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the pork to hot pan and brown on all sides, turning as needed.

3. Add the sauce from blender and 2 remaining cups of chicken broth to the ribs in pan. Stir to combine, reduce heat. Cover and cook on the stove top at a low simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You could also finish cooking it in a 350 degree oven for or in the slow cooker(on high) for about the same time. If the chile sauce gets too thick, add a little more water or broth as it cooks. Yields 4 to 6 servings.

 

This recipe was ans still is a favorite among all of my siblings. Most often, my mom prepared the recipe with bone in ribs.
This recipe was ans still is a favorite among all of my siblings. Most often, my mom prepared the recipe with bone in ribs.
Not only are these ribs great to serve as is, but I took about 1 pound of the ribs and chopped them up. The next day I prepared a small batch of tamales for a good friend.
Not only are these ribs great to serve as is, but I took about 1 pound of the ribs and chopped them up. The next day I prepared a small batch of tamales for a good friend.
Love that the pot is so light weight and did an excellent job on steaming the tamales!
Love that the pot is so light weight and did an excellent job on steaming the tamales!
Two cups of pork filling with about 2 full cups of prepared masa for tamales yields about 14 tamales.
Two cups of pork filling with about 2 full cups of prepared masa for tamales yields about 14 tamales.

Once you prepare you chile colorado sauce for the costillas de puerco from recipe above, reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce. This will be the sauce you add to the masa for tamales.

Chile Colorado Pork Tamales

Masa
4 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup chile ancho sauce
3 1/2 cups warm chicken broth
1 cup pork manteca or shortening, melted

You Will Also Need

30 to 40 cornhusk for tamales

4 full cups of cooled pork filling, finely chopped

 

1. I would suggest you soak the cornhusk overnight in some really hot water. The next day, drain the water and cover with more hot water before using.


2. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix in the warm broth and chile sauce until dough forms. Gradually mix in the manteca or shortening until well incorporated. Taste for salt, cover and let set for 30 minutes.

3. Set up your assembly station with cornhusk, masa and filling. Take a cornhusk, shake off excess water and spread with masa on the bottom half, about 3 tablespoons of masa. Fill down the center with 2 tablespoons of pork filling. Fold in the sides to close, then fold down top flap. Place seam side down onto tray until you are done filling.

4. Fill the bottom of a steamer pot with water. Place the filled tamales, open side up, in a steamer pot. Bring to a quick boil on high heat, Lower the temperature to medium and steam for a good hour and 15 minutes. I like to set my timer for every 30 minutes and fill steamer with 2 more cups of hot water. You never want to run out of water when steaming the tamales. It’s best to have a little too much than run out.

5. When time is up, just shut off the heat and let tamales set up in the pot for 30 minutes or more. To test a tamal right away, pull one out and let it cool slightly. The husk should pull away from the tamal easily. The cooler they get the more firm they will become. This recipe yields 30 good size tamales. * I prepared only half of the tamales on this day and left the rest for another day. That’s why the steamer pot was not full.

Place filled tamales seam side down as you fill them.
Place filled tamales seam side down as you fill them.
Usually when I get to the last taml, there is an odd amount of masa left, so I just take it all and make one big tamal, lol!  They are known as el tamal borracho.
Usually when I get to the last taml, there is an odd amount of masa left, so I just take it all and make one big tamal, lol! They are known as el tamal borracho.
When I don't have enough tamales to fit the steamer pot, I will insert a heat safe bowl or small pot in the center. This will keep the tamales from falling  over and becoming mis-shapen while they steam.
When I don’t have enough tamales to fit the steamer pot, I will insert a heat safe bowl or small pot in the center. This will keep the tamales from falling over and becoming mis-shapen while they steam.
You know the tamal is tasty when it can stand on it's own without adding salsa. But again, the salsa verde is a must  and the way I remember enjoying them at home.
You know the tamal is tasty when it can stand on it’s own without adding salsa. But again, the salsa verde is a must and the way I remember enjoying them at home.

 

 

Chile Colorado Pork Tamales

This is truly the one tamal recipe that I remember the most from my childhood. Chile colorado (red in color) pork tamales, a recipe handed down for generations. All families have their own versions of those special tamales cooked during the holidays and special parties. This is the recipe I grew up enjoying year after year. And since my Mom could not ship them to me, I made it my goal to learn how to prepare them on my own using masa harina.  Real, freshly ground masa from the tortilleria is the ultimate when it comes to preparing tamales, but I have to say that the masa harina has worked out well for me over the years. The first few years I was preparing them, I used vegetable shorteneing instead of the pork manteca/lard that is traditionally added. The manteca is more readily available now and this really helped give my tamales a more authentic flavor. I have to say, I have done well over the years adapting to the ingredients that were available to me. Now, after years of practice, I actually find the whole tamale making process quite enjoyable!  The best way to approach tamal making is step by step. And not all in one day. This is my best recollection of my Mom’s recipe for chile colorado pork tamales.

A True Mexican Christmas Dinner!!
A True Mexican Christmas Dinner!!

Pork Tamales

For the Pork Filling:
 4 1/2 pounds pork butt or shoulder , boneless if possible
1 whole garlic bulb
12 dried chile ancho stems and seeds removed (you could use a mix of dried peppers, such as guajillo, new mexico, california..)
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1/2 tablespoons cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Pork broth from cooked pork

Chile Colorado Pork for Tamales
Chile Colorado Pork for Tamales

For the Masa Dough:

*8 additional chile ancho, stems and seeds removed (I like my masa to be well seasoned and colored with the chile sauce, but you could add less if you like.

5 cups masa harina
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups warm low sodium chicken broth

*1 cup chile sauce made from chile ancho
1 1/2 cups pork lard, melted
*1/2 to 3/4 cup warm chicken broth

Tips~ When you mix the masa base, I always add equal parts masa harina and liquid/broth. This is before the melted manteca or extra broth is added to make it spreadable. So if adding chile sauce, that portion would count as a liquid. Example: For 5 cups Masa Harina add 4 cups warm water/broth and 1 cup chile sauce. The results, for me, is always a well flavored and moist tamal. Things I have learned over the years….and still learning. 

 

You Will Also Need:

40 to 43 corn husks for  medium tamales, plus more for steaming
A large steamer pot

Masa Harina for Tamales. If you have this variety available, it works better for the tamales.
Masa Harina for Tamales. If you have this variety available, it works better for the tamales. The masa harina is very light in color, but the chile ancho sauce will give it some extra flavor and great color!
Prepare a few dozen masa filled corn husk before filling with pork.
Prepare a few dozen masa filled corn husk before filling with pork.
When assembling the tamales, it's best to set up a n assembly line of all the ingredients you will need.
When assembling the tamales, it’s best to set up a n assembly line of all the ingredients you will need.

 

Directions:
1. Start by cooking the pork in a big pot with enough water to cover(about 12 to 15 cups) add the whole garlic bulb. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the water, cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for a good 3 to 4 hours or until pork becomes tender. Skim the foam from pork as it cooks. At this time, add your corn husk to a large pot and cover with boiling water. Cover and let soak for a few hours. The longer the better. I soak mine for 2 to 3 days, changing the water everyday.

2. In another pot add all of the chile ancho(for pork and for masa) and fill with water, cover with lid and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for another 10  to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

3. When  the chile ancho has cooled, drain the peppers and transfer them to a blender, add 3 cups of pork stock or water, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper. Blend in two batches if you don’t think you can fit it in one batch. Blend until smooth, set aside 1 cup to add into the masa dough.

4. Once the pork is cooked, remove from the broth and let it cool for a little while. When cool enough, shred the pork or cut into bite-size pieces. Heat 3 tablespoons of  manteca or olive oil to medium heat in a large pot. Add the chile ancho sauce from the blender and cook for 5 minutes. Add in all of the pork and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of remaining pork broth. Cook at a low simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until the broth reduces. Taste for salt. 

 

5. Make the masa dough: Combine masa harina, baking powder, bouillon and salt in large bowl,  gradually add warm chicken or pork broth and 1 cup of reserved chile ancho sauce. Using your hands, work into a soft dough. In another glass bowl, melt the shortening/manteca. Add the shortening  and remaining 1/2 cup of warm broth to the masa and work with hands until the masa has a frosting like texture. If the masa seems too thick, add a little more chicken broth. Keep masa covered with a damp paper towel  or plastic until ready to use.
6. To assemble tamales: Take a few of the husks at a time, shake off water, if they are more than 4 inches wide, just tear off the side a little. Place the corn husk in the palm of your hand with the wide side closest to you. Spread about 4 tablespoons of masa all over the bottom half of husk. Place a heaping 2 tablespoons of filling lengthwise down the center of the tamale. Fold one side in first, then the other side (it should overlap a little on the first fold). Fold down the empty top section down and lay tamale seam-side down until ready to cook.

7. Prepare large pot to steam tamales, take a  metal steamer that expands out, place in the center of pot. Add about 5 to 6 cups of water to the bottom of pot, just so it comes up to the level of the steamer. Arrange all of your tamales standing up (open side up). I like to take a few extra corn husks and arrange them on top of the filled tamales. This will help keep them moist while they steam. Turn heat to high to begin steaming, then reduce to medium/low for the next hour. Set your timer for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, I add a little more hot water to the steamer and continue cooking until the hour is up. Remove from heat and let stand for 25 to 30 minutes before serving. This will make up to 48 small/medium tamales. Serve with rice, beans and tomatillo salsa!

Tips~ All stove tops and pots vary as to how they cook. Make sure you check the water level so you don’t run out of water. I prepare my tamales in stages over a few days. it makes the task at hand alot easier.

Uncooked Pork Tamales. We like to make one big tamal when we are almost done filling. I believe my cousin named this one El Borracho! LOl!
Uncooked Pork Tamales. We like to make one big tamal when we are almost done filling. I believe my cousin named this one El Borracho! LOl!
Chile Colorado Pork Tamales
Chile Colorado Pork Tamales and don’t forget the Tomatillo Salsa with Chile de Arbol!
Even better than freshly steamed tamales? Charred tamales on the comal the next morning.
What is better than freshly steamed tamales? Charred tamales on the comal the next morning.