Though simple meals are usually a host’s best friend, a special occasion may call for a more complex culinary creation. Making a more elaborate menu need not mean a host spends their entire event in the kitchen, however.
A multistep meal well suited to any occasion, tamales provide the perfect opportunity to bring friends and family into the kitchen with you. Ask your guests to help you completedifferent tamale-making tasks from this recipe featuring avocado salsa the next time you need to showcase extra cooking creativity.
How to Make Tamales with Avocado Salsa
- 1–1/2 lbs. pork shoulder
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 dried Anaheim chiles
- 4 dried guajillo chiles
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 31 dried corn husks
- 3 c. corn masa, coarsely ground
- 1–1/2 c. pork lard
- 4 Avocados From Mexico, pitted, peeled, and diced
- 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 8 T. lime juice
- 8 T. cilantro, minced
- 7–1/3 T. salt
To Prepare the Filling:
- Place pork shoulder, chicken broth, and 1–1/2 T. salt in a large pot.
- Dice onion, chiles, and garlic and add them to the large pot.
- Cook mixture until chicken broth boils — roughly 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and allow the meat to cook for about an hour and a half.
- When the meat pulls apart effortlessly, strain over a medium-size bowl, saving the chicken broth to be used for making the masa.
To Prepare the Masa:
- Soak the corn husks in warm water in your sink for an hour, or until they are pliable.
- As the husks soak, add the masa, 1–1/2 T. salt, half of the chicken broth, and half of the lard to a large mixing bowl.
- Use your hands to knead the mixture, gradually incorporating the remaining lard and chicken broth as the dough forms. Your dough should be wet and malleable when lightly patted. If the dough is too dry, add more chicken broth and lard.
To Assemble and Cook the Tamales:
- Hold a single corn husk smooth-side up and use a spoon to spread a centimeter-thick circle of masa across the center of the husk.
- Use another spoon to put a dollop of your filling on top of the masa.
- Fold one side of the husk over so that your filling is entirely enclosed in masa. Then, continue to roll until you reach the other side of the husk. Repeat this process until you’ve assembled 30 tamales.
- Make 30 thin strips of corn husk from the last husk. Use them to tie the tamales closed at one end, leaving the other end open.
- Place all of your tamales in a steamer with the tied side down and let them steam for 45 minutes.
To Prepare the Avocado Salsa:
- Leave your avocados in a paper bag next to a banana the night before you prepare your tamales to ensure your avocados are ripe.
- Dice your ripe avocados and fresh tomatoes, then combine in a large bowl with lime juice, cilantro, and 4 t. salt.
By the time each of your guests places a tamale on their plate to unwrap, they will have served themselves not only a meal but the pride of a job well done. What’s more, you will have been able to enjoy the laughs and memories made during tamale-making time.
Visit our avocado recipe page for more meal ideas that will bring your loved ones into the kitchen with you.