Tamales con Puerco




Place the pork, 3 cups water, onion halved and 1 clove garlic in a medium saucepan.

Heat over medium heat and bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, simmer partially covered until the pork is fork tender, 30 minutes.

Drain the pork, reserve 1 1/2 cups of the broth.

Place the tomatillos and boiling water enough for covering in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until fork tender, 10 minutes.

Drain and place the tomatillos with the chiles, 2 lettuce leaves, cilantro, chopped onion and remaining garlic in a blender, mix until smooth.

Heat 2 tablespoons lard in a saucepan over medium heat until hot, add the tomatillo mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thick, 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the pork, simmer stirring occasionally until the pork is very tender, 30 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the masa harina, salt and baking powder. Beat remaining 5 1/2 tablespoons lard in a large bowl until fluffy, 5-10 minutes.

Beat in the masa mixture, 1/4 a cup at a time.

Beat until thoroughly blended. Heat reserved pork broth just until warm, gradually beat it into the massa mixture to form a soft moist dough.

Rinse banana leaves well, using scissors cut out and discard the center rib. Cut the leaves crosswise into 24 squares. Set stove burner at medium heat.

Pass each leaf square quickly across burner a few times until pliable, do not overheat or it will become brittle. Cut remaining lettuce leaves crosswise into halves (we ommited this).

Spread around 2 tablespoons dough into the banana leaf square center. Top with around 2 tablespoons pork mixture, cover with 1/2 lettuce leaf (we ommited this).

Fold sides, then ends of the banana leaf over filling to enclose. Repeat the process with the rest of the ingredients.

Line a large steamer basket with banana squares. Stack the tamales in the basket, folded sides down (we enclosed then with cooking twine for extra safety).

Place steamer basket over boiling water, cover with lid. Adjust heat to mantain a gentle boil, steam tamales until the dough is cooked through, about 1 hour.

Transfer to a platter lined with with lettuce leaves, garnish with tomato wedges and serve hot.