These Yankee Pork Tamales are inspired by my friend Ronaldo Linares who I think is the best of the best when it comes to Cuban cuisine. But, of course, I had to give this Cuban street food a shot of Yankee ingenuity.
I use fresh ears of corn, as well as the husks. There is no need to buy dried corn husks when all you’re doing is rehydrating them. AND, using the corn kernels adds great flavor and texture to the masa (cornmeal dough) and the carnita (filling) has that slight touch of sweetness.
Don’t be dismayed at the preparation, it is super simple! (Not to mention cutting the fat by 75 percent as compared to traditional tamales).
- 2 ears corn
- 1/4 cup vegetable or beef broth
- 4 teaspoons butter or margarine, divided
- 1/4 cup cornmeal or masa harina
- 1/4 cup shredded or grated Asiago cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- To taste salt and pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 8 ounces cooked, shredded pork, chopped
- 1/4 cup hot chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon molasses or brown sugar
- As needed nonstick cooking spray
- 1 Peel the corn, keeping the husks and discarding silk. Peel off 6 large, green husks and rinse well, discarding remainder of husks. Cut off kernels of corn, keeping 1/2 cup and storing remainder for another meal.
- 2 Add corn to a food processor bowl or blender and add broth. Puree on high until as smooth as possible, it will still be lumpy. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add 2 teaspoons butter, bringing to a boil over medium heat.
- 3 In another bowl, blend cornmeal, cheese, baking powder, salt and black pepper. When boiling, add dry to saucepan, stir well and remove from heat. Let cool 1 minute before mixing in egg; set aside.
- 4 In a large saucepan, melt remainder of butter over medium high heat. When ready, add onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add pork, chili sauce and molasses. Blend well; remove from heat until cooled enough to handle.
- 5 Preheat outdoor grill to medium heat. Prepare Tamales by adding equal amounts of cornmeal mixture to each of the saved husks, spreading out so that it resembles a rectangle from side to side. Add about 2 tablespoons pork mixture on top.
- 6 Start rolling tamale from the stem end of the husk toward the top end, tucking in the sides as you go. Grease tamale completely with nonstick cooking spray.
- 7 Place, seam side down, over indirect heat on the grate of the grill. Cook about 10 minutes, turn and continue cooking until all sides of the tamales are charred. Remove to cool slightly before unwrapping to enjoy.
- 8 NOTE: You can also steam this Cuban street food, as traditionally done, by tying some twine around each and steam them for 30 minutes.