Thursday, May 25, 2017

Instant Pot: Cilantro Pork Tamales

Print
I have found a new favorite ingredient - masa harina! Masa harina is a common flour made out of corn and is used to make quite a few Mexican specialities such as tortillas, tamales, arepas, etc. I've been playing around in the kitchen with masa harina for more gluten free dishes and it's been such a delicious adventure. The most recent dish I made using masa harina includes these Cilantro Pork Tamales. Pressure cooked pork is cooked with a cilantro and tomato salsa before using as a flavorful tamale filling...

I've made tamales a number of times and it never fails. Each time I make them, I fall in love with tamales all over again - even moreso when cooking them in the Instant Pot. For these tamales, be prepared to really use your Instant Pot for pressuring cooking the filling and again for steaming the tamales once assembled.


When pressure cooking the pork filling, the cilantro flavor is absorbed as the pork cooks in a puree of cilantro, tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, onion, lime juice and seasonings. While the pork cooks, you can prepare the masa dough. The dough itself requires some patience to get the right consistency. If you want that fluffy masa, plan to chill the dough for an hour before assembling. The dried corn husks in which the tamales are wrapped will also need to be soaked in warm water so they become pliable and easy to fill. Lastly, the most fun part of making tamales is assembling them. If you have some extra friends that want to help assembling, use them! A lot of great conversations can be had while assembling tamales.


As you assemble them, have your Instant Pot ready then steam the tamales all at once. After they're done, cool them slightly before enjoying or cool them completely before packing them for the freezer.


To serve, garnish them with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese and a little touch of chopped fresh cilantro and tomatoes.



Cilantro Pork Tamales
adapted from Rick Bayless

For the filling:

1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4-6 small to medium sized Roma tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeƱos, seeded and minced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the batter:

1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening or lard, slightly softened but not melted
1 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 cups MASECA brand corn masa
8 cups hot water or broth
1-pound package dried corn husks, soaked in warm water to soften


1. Preparing the filling. In a large blender or food processor (or working in batches), combine the filling ingredients except the pork. Cover and blend to a smooth puree. 


In your Instant Pot:


Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Transfer puree to IP and add pork.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 60 minutes on HIGH pressure.


The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 60 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 60 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. 

When the display reflects L10:00 (which is 10 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).


The IP will automatically default to the WARM setting.


Remove the pork from IP and allow to cool enough to handle with your hands or forks. Shred pork and place in a large bowl.

2. Preparing the masa dough. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine together the shortening/lard, salt, powder and masa on medium speed. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add 1/2 cup of the broth. Continue beating for another minute or so, until the water or broth is used up. To test that the masa is ready, place a 1/2-teaspoon dollop in cold water (if it floats you can be sure the tamales will be tender and light). Beat in enough additional broth to give the mixture the consistency of soft (not runny) cake batter; it should hold its shape in a spoon. Taste the batter and season with additional salt if you think necessary.

* For the lightest textured tamales, refrigerate the batter for an hour or so, then rebeat, adding enough additional broth or water to bring the mixture to the soft consistency it had before.

3. Preparing the corn husks. Soak the dried corn husks in warm water to soften and make pliable for filling.


4. Setting up the steamer.  Steaming tamales can be done in batches in a collapsible vegetable steamer set in your Instant Pot. It is best to line the steamer with leftover scraps of softened corn husks to protect the tamales from direct contact with the steam and to add more flavor. Make sure to leave tiny spaces between husks so condensing steam can drain off.


5. Forming the tamales. Cut twenty thin strips of soften corn husks. One at a time, form the tamales: Lay out a husk, smooth-side up, and spread 1/3 cup of the batter into an 8x4-inch rectangle over the middle section. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling over the left side of the rectangle of batter, then fold in the right third of the leaf so that the batter encloses the filling. Fold in the uncovered third of the leaf, then fold in the top and bottom. Loosely tie the tamales with husk strips and set them in the steamer.


6. Steaming and serving the tamales. 


In your Instant Pot:


Plug in the IP with insert set in place.


Place collapsible steamer inside the IP and 2 cups of water.


Place the tamales upright/standing up in the steamer; Cover them with a layer of corn husk scraps or leftovers. 

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 20 minutes on HIGH pressure.


The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 20 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.


When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 20 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure completely - allow several minutes for this to complete. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).


The IP will automatically default to the WARM setting. Turn OFF IP and unplug.

Allow the tamales stand in the steamer off the heat for a few minutes to firm up. For the best textured tamales, let them cool completely, then re-steam about 15 minutes to heat through.


Working Ahead: Both filling and batter can be made several days ahead, as can the finished tamales; refrigerate, well covered. Re-steam (or even microwave) tamales before serving. For even more flexibility, batter, filling or finished tamales can be frozen. Defrost finished tamales in the refrigerator overnight before re-steaming.


0 comments:

Subscribe to Feeds
Follow Me on Twitter
Add in Facebook