Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pork Tamales with Green Olives and Chipotle Sauce

This is one of those recipes that looks complicated, but is actually simple enough because it's made from a few components that you can prepare ahead.  The tamale batter on the bottom is made from masa harina, palm oil, broth, baking powder and salt all whipped together.  The next layer is a mixture of pork, raisins, and a sauce of tomatoes, chipotles, onion, garlic and salt.  On top of that goes a dollop of this sauce all by itself, topped off with - not a cherry - a green olive, followed by a bit more batter.
This all gets wrapped up like an envelope side-to-side and then top-to-bottom in a banana leaf and steamed for an hour and a half.  I decided to try cutting down the steaming time by fifteen minutes this time because in the past I've found it excessive - the pork is pre-cooked after all - and they came out just fine.  I also cut down the fat in the batter from 1/3 to 1/4 cup and they were still too greasy.  
All of the flavors blended beautifully.  The raisins contributed a welcome sweetness without drawing attention to themselves, while the tomato sauce was bright and just a bit spicy.  The corn dough was moist and earthy, rounding off the other flavors.

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