What to do when I have a large container filled with red chile pork ready for tamales? Test kitchen! It seems that I am always tempted to try something new when I know I have plenty of ingredients on hand. A couple of years ago I prepared a soup with masa dumplings and I loved the dumplings so much, because they reminded me of tamales. Tamales, but without all the labor and time that goes into them. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing that could replace freshly steamed pork tamales. But when the craving strikes, these little dumplings prepared using masa harina, really do the trick. For me, this is pure comfort foods. The best fillings for these are foods that have been cooked down in a thick sauce or simply shredded meat. If the filling is too moist, you may not be able to seal the dumplings. In a pinch I searched through my cupboard for some Salsa Fresca, El Pato brand. I always have a few cans on hand. It’s delicious straight out of the can for a quick salsa or enchilada sauce. #masadumlpings #mexicanfood
Pork Tamal Dumplings in a Spicy Broth
Yields 4 Servings (3 dumplings per person)
For Tamal Dumplings
1 cup masa harina
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chile ancho powder
2/3 cup hot water or chicken broth
1/2-3/4 cup of previously cooked red chile pork
You Also Need
1/2 cup onion, slice thin
2 serranos, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 can(8oz) El Pato salsa fresca(yellow can)
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed Mexican oregano
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 chile de arbol crushed, optional
cilantro for garnish
sliced chile serrano for garnish
Tip~each dumpling is 1 full tablespoon of masa and 1 full teaspoon filling
1. In a bowl add the masa harina, salt and chile ancho powder. Gradually add the hot water and mix until dough forms. Drizzle in a little oil and work it into the masa.
2. Roll 12 equal masa balls, transfer to a plate and flatten slightly. Keep covered with plastic. Use your hands to flatten the masa ball to about 2 1/2 inches across. Fill with 1 full teaspoon of pork. Fold over and seal by gently pressing. Place filled dumplings back under plastic so they don’t dry out.
3. In a deep skillet at medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions, serrano and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 6-8 minutes.
4. Add the cumin, oregano, bay leaves and chile de arbol and saute for 1 minute. Add the broth and salsa El Pato. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
5. Taste the broth for salt and pepper. Turn heat up slightly so you have a steady simmer. Carefully add the filled tamal dumplings into the broth. Space out evenly, making sure they are covered with the broth. Cook for 25 minutes. Move gently after 10 minutes.
Click onto the picture above to see the full recipe on how to prepare a smaller batch of Pork for Tamales. If using for dumplings, make sure you shred or chop extra fine and that it’s cool.
This is a basic dough for making tortillas with the added chile ancho powder.
They look little, but they will grow in size once cooked. They are pretty filling. Next time, I am going to fry the dumplings, so they will have a taco or quesadilla texture. Then all you have to do is ladle the warm broth over them when you get ready to serve.
Gently press together to seal. The dumpling will puff and get slightly bigger as it cooks.
On a different day this same week, I prepared a larger dumpling and cooked it in an enchilada sauce. The masa will thicken the sauce or broth as it cooks down. You need to make sure dumplings are covered in the simmering liquid at all times so they cook all the way through. I used chile ancho and yellow corn masa for these dumplings.
I didn’t bother dicing the onions because they are added just to flavor the broth. But, you certainly could eat them if you like.
Salsa, El Pato comes in three varieties. Either one will work. The Salsa Fresca and Jalapeño Salsa are my favorites. Sold at that big chain store all over the states, lol! I won’t mention the name…starts with a W!