Tag Archives: Tamales

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.

 

 

Mexican Style Tamales~ Breaking With Tradition

Mexican Style Tamales~ “On the Lighter Side”. I am as traditional as they come. When it comes to the foods I grew up with, I don’t like to skimp on ingredients. But, being the cook that I am, curiosity did get the best of me for this “On the Lighter Side” version of Mexican Tamales. In my collection of Mexican cookbooks, I came across a recipe that caught my attention. “Fat Free Masa”. I was like no way!  How many times do you hear the celebrity chefs preach that fat equals flavor? Too many times, lol! I agree to a certain degree. In my own journey of weight loss over the years, I learned that  just because recipes are lighter this does not mean they should taste bland. 

My concept is, if you take out most of the fat, add more flavor using spices, chiles and acid –   like Aloha’s salsa verde and chimichurri recipes on their healthy recipe page!  I confess, I am one of those people who garnishes my savory dishes with a little hot sauce and fresh lime most of the time.  I just think that it brings out the flavors in the savory foods. For this recipe, the fat, which is traditionally pork manteca/lard, you will add whipped potatoes instead. Potatoes? I know, that’s what I thought as well.  

  To add more  of a traditional flavor, I bumped up the amount of chile sauce than I normally would add to the masa. I was skeptical, until I tasted them. I have to say, it is the best fake out for a traditional tamal that I have tried. The texture is pretty much the same with just a subtle flavor of potatoes in the backround. I have prepared these several times since and switch out the fillings depending on what I am in the mood for.

Chile Infused Tamales "On the Lighter Side"

Chile Infused Tamales “On the Lighter Side”. These were filled with queso fresco and chile verde chunky salsa

Ingredients

For Chile Sauce

12 dried New Mexico or guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed
2 dried chipotle peppers,optional if you like it more spicy
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tablespoon crushed cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon crushed Mexican oregano
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Salt to taste

Any of these varieties of dried chiles would work wel for this recipe.
Any of these varieties of dried chiles would work wel for this recipe.

For Masa
5 cups masa harina
All of the chile sauce from recipe above
3 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large russet potato or 4 new potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth

*For Traditional Masa, eliminate the potatoes and add 1 1/2 cups of melted  pork manteca or vegetable shortening

You will also need
36 or more large dried cornhusk
a large steamer pot

The first time I prepared this masa recipe, I did not strain the chile sauce. You can see the specs of chile pepper throught out. I do suggest you strain the sauce because the chile skins that remain can be hard to chew and swallow. This is the masa before adding the whipped potatoes and broth.
The first time I prepared this masa recipe, I did not strain the chile sauce. You can see the specs of chile pepper throught out. I do suggest you strain the sauce because the chile skins that remain can be hard to chew and swallow. This is the masa before adding the whipped potatoes and broth.
As you can see, my bowl was way to small for the amount of masa. But a mess in the kitchen can lead to the most tasty dish!
As you can see, my bowl was way to small for the amount of masa. But a mess in the kitchen can lead to the most tasty dish!
For this recipe, I prepared both a pork tamal and a chile and cheese tamal.
For this recipe, I prepared both a pork tamal and a chile and cheese tamal.
Filled with a chunky Green Chile Salsa and Crumbled Queso Fresco.
Filled with a chunky Green Chile Salsa and Crumbled Queso Fresco.

Directions

1. Before anything else, cover the corn husk with extra hot water. Use a heavy weight to keep them immersed in the water. Let them soak for a good hour or longer.  In a medium saucepan, add  all the dried chiles, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain all of the water, transfer to the blender. Add all the remaining ingredients listed for chile sauce to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Strain, using a wire mesh strainer, set sauce aside.

2. In a separate medium pot, add potatoes, fill with just enough water to cover. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are fork tender.

3. While potatoes are cooking, in a bowl combine the masa harina,salt and baking powder. Gradually add in the water and chile sauce until the dough forms. If you do not have a KitchenAid, lol, it’s best to get right in there and use your hands to mix the dough. The dough is ready when it stops sticking to your hands. If it seems too dry add a little more water. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

4. When potatoes are ready, drain all the water, reserving 2 tablespoons it. In a large bowl, add the potatoes, water from potatoes and with a hand mixer whip the potatoes until fluffy. Alternate adding the masa and the chicken broth a little at a time until the dough is smooth like frosting. If using right away, let masa rest for at least 30 minutes. You can cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days until ready to use.

5.  When ready to assemble, you are looking for one that is no more than 4 inches across. Spread with about 4 tablespoons of masa, fill with 2 tablespoons of your favorite meat or veggie filling, fols in the sides until they overlap slightly. Fold top down.  Fill steamer pot with water and arrange the tamales with open side up. You want the tamales to fit in there pretty snug. This will help them hold their shape better while they steam. Cover tamales with any extra cornhusk or with a wet, clean kitchen towel. Steam at medium heat for 1 hour, adding more hot water after 30 minutes.Pull one tamal out and let cool. If tamal pull away from husk then they are ready. Remove from heat and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes covered. Serve with your favorite salsa. Yields 40 large tamales or 50 medium, more or less.

"On the Lighter Side" Red Chile Tamales
“On the Lighter Side” Red Chile Tamales with all the fixings!
I have learned over the years that if I add more flavor and spices to my lighter versions of recipes that I enjoy them much more!
I have learned over the years that if I add more flavor and spices to my lighter versions of recipes that I enjoy them much more! The potato flavor is very subtle in this recipe. Tamales without all the guilt, lol! Next batch is traditional for sure!!

 

Dia De Los Muertos~ Recipes Inspired by Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead  is a traditional holiday observed in Mexico as well as other cultures. For me, preperations for this go on through the whole month of October, building up to the days of celebration and remembrance. Special items, such as pictures, flowers, insense, candles, trinkets and foods are placed on simple and sometimes very large alters. The days of celebration and remembrance are October 31, November 1 and November 2. It is believed that the spirits of our loved ones who have passed come back at midnite on November 1 to enjoy their favorite items placed on the alter in their memory. Traditional foods, such as tamales, molé, frijoles, arroz, tortillas, candy made from pumpkin, chocolate and pan de muerto are some of the foods I like to prepare to honor my loved ones. For this blog post, I would love to share some of my favorite recipes, some old and some new like the cookie recipe for Calaveras. Don’t forget to click onto the last picture. It is a small article I was asked to write up for Que Rica Vida last year describing some of the traditions and foods of Dia De Los Muertos. I can never get through those last two sentenced without crying…..happy tears, only happy tears. Love you Mom and Dad.

My alter at night...
My alter at night…
Using a basic recipe for Polvorones I prepared these  fun Calavera cookies
Using a basic recipe for Polvorones I prepared these fun Calavera cookies

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds, ground fresh
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
*food coloring, optional, green, red and blue to make purple
*colored sugar crystals
*cookie stamps/cut-outs

Yields 16 cookies
Baked at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes

Dia De Los Muertos Cookie Cut-Outs
Dia De Los Muertos Cookie Cut-Outs
For me, the coloring of the cookie dough was the hardest thing to do with my bad wrist/arm. Ouch! But it was worth it.
For me, the coloring of the cookie dough was the hardest thing to do with my bad wrist/arm. Ouch! But it was worth it.

1. Cream the butter with mixer. Add in the sugar,baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, anise, salt and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour until dough forms, using your hands or a wooden spoon.

2. Separate dough into two equal balls if making more than one color of cookie. Add food coloring of choice until desired color. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 dregrees. Line two baking pans with parchment paper, set aside.

4. Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently press cookie press into dough, remove, flip over and cut out cookie shape. Transfer to baking sheet. repeat until done. You will need to lightly flour the cookie press/cut out in between so the dough does not stick. If it sticks, just be patient and start over…..

5. Decorate cookies with colored sugar crystals. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. This cookie press made 16 cookies.

Colored Cookie Dough For Cut-Outs
Colored Cookie Dough For Cut-Outs
Unbaked cookies ready for the oven.
Unbaked cookies ready for the oven.
Dia De Los Muertos Calavera Cookies
Dia De Los Muertos Calavera Cookies
A basic Polvorones cookie recipe worked great for this cookie.
A basic Polvorones cookie recipe worked great for this cookie.

 

Mexican Chicken Molé (Mo-Leh). Click onto picture to see full recipe @the Hispanic Kitchen.

A labor of love, low and slow traditional Mexican cooking, but so worth it!
A labor of love, low and slow traditional Mexican cooking, but so worth it!

 

Mexican Style Tamales prepared with masa harina. Click onto picture to see full recipe @the Hispanic Kitchen.

My Familiy's Mexican Style Tamales
My Familiy’s Mexican Style Tamales

 

Pan de Muerto/Day of the Dead Bread. Click onto picture to see full recipe @ Que Rica Vida.

Pan de Muerto
Pan de Muerto

 

Frijoles~ Beans~ Legume- In My Kitchen. Click onto picture to see full recipe on blog.

Frijoles Borrachos, a family favorite!
Frijoles Borrachos, a family favorite!

 

My Mom’s Mexican Red Rice. Click onto picture to see full recipe @the Hispanic Kitchen.

Mom's Mexican Red Rice
Mom’s Mexican Red Rice

 

Traditional Foods Prepared For The Day Of The Dead/Que Rica Vida. Click onto picture to read full article.

Traditional Foods Prepared For Day Of The Dead