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
10 chile ancho, stems and seeds removed
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Maggi Sauce, optional
salt to taste
You will also need
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork country style ribs
2 more cups pork or chicken broth
*Grapeseed or canola oil
1. Cover the chile ancho with water. Bring to a boil , reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. While chiles cook toaste the cumin seeds in a hot skillet just until they become aromatic. Crush the seeds using a mortar and pestle. 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 the same amount of time. If finishing in the oven, cover them with foil the first two hours, uncover the last hour. If the chile sauce gets too thick, add a little more water or broth as it cooks. Yields 4 to 6 servings.
Chile Ancho has to be one of my most favorite of the dried chile peppers.
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.
If you are planning to use this recipe to prepare the pork filling for tamales, I would suggest ading 35 to 45 minutes cooking time, just so the pork is extra tender and easy to shred.
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
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.