I'd been majorly craving tamales ever since the apocalyptic Mayan baked tamales I made a week ago. Except I wanted the real deal: rich (read: lardy), steamed (read: moist) tamales.
I decided to first make a green chili pork stew and then use that as the filling some days later. Tamales are known to be such a huge, all-day task, but they're really only daunting f you are starting from step one and looking to bundled up multiple dozens in the same day. Like any multi-step process, splitting up the tasks into at least two days makes a HUGE difference.
I decided to start with this green chili pork stew recipe from Emeril for reference, but I made a considerable amount of proportional alterations from there because I wanted this to be more meaty and less peppery (keeping its second incarnation in mind). The only thing I wish I'd done differently was omit whole peppercorns. Fresh ground pepper would be much better than whole pepperbombs, in my opinion. :)
2.5 lbs pork (I used center cut- also known as the "picnic"--because they were out of pork butt)
2 yellow onions
2 tablespoons cumin
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns (but, really, you should coarsely grind it!!)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1.5 pounds Anaheim or poblano peppers, roasted
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped white onion
2 jalapenos, diced
squirt of oregano oil (because I had that but was out of oregano!)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 tablespoons flour
5 cups chicken stock
4 ounces diced mild green chiles (I used canned but use fresh if you have access to them, of course!)
bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
fresh corn tortillas
cotija cheese (optional, for topping)
1. Place pork, yellow onions, cumin, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large saucepan and cover with water by one inch. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender (Emeril says 45 minutes but I thought it needed much longer!), skimming the surface to remove any scum that forms. Drain in a colander.
2. Roast the Anaheim/poblano peppers (either in the oven or on the stovetop). Peel and remove seeds and stems. Chop peppers and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped white onions and cook until tender. Add garlic, jalapenos, oregano, salt, and cumin and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the flour and cook, without allowing to color, for two minutes. Add green chiles and chicken stock, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes. Add cilantro and season to taste.
4. Shred the drained pork (if it's not shredding easily, return it to the pot and keep a-cookin!). Return the shredded pork to the pot and add the chile verde and stir well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until heated through. Serve hot with tortillas, topped with crumbled cotija!