08 January 2015

Sheet-Pan Tamales - Pork Tamales

Sheet-Pan Tamales / www.delightfulrepast.com

Like a lot of people, we love tamales but don't want to go to the trouble of making them! Then the restaurant that made our favorite tamales went out of business, leaving us high and dry. What was I to do? I was not in the mood to mess with corn husks or plantain leaves. 

Tamale-making is really a group activity, and I'm cooking solo most days. So I thought why not just layer it in a sheet pan and cut it into rectangular "tamales"? First, I cooked the pork in the slow cooker, shredded the meat and poured the braising liquid in a 2-cup glass measure. 

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Next day, I made the sauce and the masa mixture and assembled my "thing." Didn't quite know what to call it. It's not tamales. It's not tamale pie. It's made in a sheet pan, so I decided on Sheet-Pan Tamales. My masa mixture is not the traditional one at all, but it has that masa flavor and aroma. 

You might want to spice it up a bit more, but I like to make it on the milder side and pass a zesty salsa around the table for those who like more heat. It's nice to have both a green and a red sauce on the table. You know I don't buy out-of-season imports, so in winter I make my Salsa - So Fresh Tasting No One Will Know It's Made with Canned Tomatoes. 

What do you think? To those who say, Yeah, but they're not real tamales, I say, Yeah, but real tamales weren't gonna be happening any time soon! 

Sheet-Pan Tamales / www.delightfulrepast.com

Sheet-Pan Tamales 

Tamales Para La Mujer Perezosa 

(Makes one 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan or two 13x9x1-inch quarter-sheet pans, serves 12 or more) 

The Pork 

3-pound pork shoulder (I buy local pastured pork) 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup dry red or white wine 

The Sauce 

Enough water to bring defatted braising liquid to 1 1/2 cups
1 14-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon blend of ground chiles (I use 2 parts anaheim, 2 parts ancho, 1 part chipotle)
1/2 teaspoon cumin 

The Masa 

5 cups (24 ounces) masa harina
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups milk plus up to 2/3 cup more at the end
4 large eggs
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

1 Put pork shoulder, salt, pepper, marjoram, oregano, onion and wine into slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

2 Transfer cooked pork to wide bowl and, using two forks, shred pork, removing any visible chunks of fat. Discard onion or reserve for another use. Cover and refrigerate shredded pork. 

Note: The pork needs to be shredded quite well, leaving no thick or long pieces.

3 Pour braising liquid into 2-cup glass measure. Refrigerate until fat rises to the top and solidifies. Remove the solidified fat. Add enough water to defatted liquid to make 1 1/2 cups. 

4 Pour braising liquid into 3-quart saucepan. Add crushed tomatoes, ground chiles and cumin. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or so until reduced a bit. Taste and adjust seasoning. I keep it on the mild side and serve it with a zesty salsa for those who want to heat it up a bit more. 

5 Stir sauce gradually into shredded pork. You may not need all the sauce. The shredded pork needs to be moist but not dripping with sauce. 

6 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together the masa harina (I use Bob's Red Mill), baking powder and salt. In medium bowl, whisk together the 4 cups milk, eggs, oil and butter (I use Organic Valley). Add the milk mixture to the masa harina and beat until well mixed. It will be quite thick but should be spreadable. 

7 Spray 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan with cooking spray. Spread 3 1/2 cups of the masa mixture evenly in bottom of pan. Place spoonfuls of shredded pork over the masa, make an even layer of it and press it a bit to compact it. Gradually add up to 2/3 cup more milk to remaining masa mixture to make it more pourable/spreadable. Place spoonfuls of it over the pork and spread it evenly over the pork layer. 

Note: Or divide between two 13x9x2-inch quarter-sheet pans.

8 Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 or 10 minutes before cutting into 24 or 32 rectangles.

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Angie's Recipes said...

I always love corn based dishes. This looks hearty and very delicious, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie! I'm glad I put some in the freezer because now I want one! I love how you use so many different grains in your recipes.

bj said...

Jean, thanks so much for your well wishes for Mr. Sweet...we don't get sick often and when we do, it always concerns me as....WE. ARE. OLDEN.
and don't bounce back as easily as we did in our younger days.
Oh, and the black and white tiered dish holding my little oranges is a Mackenzie Childs piece..daughter gave it to me several years ago..it is retired now but they have another that is gorgeous...you can go to their web site and check it out.
Thanks again, bj

bj said...

oOO, and meant to say that we have the BEST tamale factory here...so so good and they sell them to the groc stores so they are easy to get. And, of course, now I am hungry for one. :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

BJ, I will check that out! Anyone who has tea parties like I do can always use another three-tiered server.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Ooh, now this is INTERESTING! Who cares what you call it? Jeani’s faux tamales are worthy of their own category. Imagination informed by taste. I go for it…from scratch. Five cleavers! And now that I’ve got my calendar marked out, I really need to look at it earlier in the day before skinny skiing catches me in its thrall.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, it is always such an honor to be awarded your Five Cleavers! A couple of these "faux" tamales would fuel you for hours of skiing!

Amy at love made my home said...

Such a great idea, and if it gives you all the taste and flavour that you are seeking that is the most important thing isn't it!! xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Amy. Yes, though I want to save time and effort, I'm not willing to give up flavour!

Linda Kay said...

Thanks for the recipe, BJ....they look really delicious.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Linda! If you try them, do let me know how they turn out for you.

Cranberry Morning said...

That's a clever take on tamales, Jean! And I don't know if you saw my response on my blog as to the Dobie Gillis and propinquity, thanks for the reminder. Really, all I remember of that show is the word 'propinquity.' I couldn't tell you anything else except the names Dobie and Zelda. LOL I think I was much more into words than plots.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Judy! I thought it was pretty clever. I'm always looking for shortcuts these days, as long as they retain the flavor and quality of the classics I'm streamlining.

Kavey said...

I'm not a huge fan of tamales (though give me the pulled pork on it's own and I'm yours) but I think your idea of making a sheet-pan version is very clever.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kavey! I do love pulled pork sandwiches, too. Here is my oven pulled pork, http://www.delightfulrepast.com/2012/08/pulled-pork-sandwiches.html, and slow cooker pulled pork, http://www.delightfulrepast.com/2014/10/slow-cooker-pulled-pork.html.

Karen Lange said...

What a great idea! I too, am cooking solo these days as two of three kids are out of the house. Most meals it's just my husband and I too, so I am adapting recipes and adjusting portions. Thanks for sharing with us! :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, thank you! And these freeze really well, too. So you can just pull out a few for you and your husband and reheat in the microwave.

Magnolia Verandah said...

I don't think I have come across this dish before. I don't think we eat a lot of tamales here. But it certainly sounds delicious.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, MV! You could be the first in your area to make tamales! A trendsetter!

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

We rely on a restaurant and a specialty market for our tamales also. I have been to a tamalada and made a quick decision that this wouldn't be tried at home. Thank you for this great idea! Pinned.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lea Ann, thanks! And thanks for the Pin. Much appreciated (I haven't quite figured out Pinterest). I pulled a couple of these out of the freezer for a late lunch yesterday. They freeze well.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

What a clever dish and I love that you got to name it. I think Tamales by Jean would work. Whatever the name, I can't wait to try it. I don't like fiddling with the husks and I don't have heaps of hands around here either. Yum.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Maureen, thank you! Fiddling with husks is in that category of things that the smart (or lazy) woman stops doing at a certain point in life!

Chris said...

I am a total sucker for anything with a tamales in it. I can't wait to try this! Yum! Pinned.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Christie, thank you! And I so appreciate the Pin (I haven't quite figured Pinterest out!).

An Apel a Day said...

These look so good! My husband used to make homemade tamales. They must have been a lot of work because he hasn't made them in a long time. These are probably a lot easier to make.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Alissa, yes, they are a LOT of work! People have tamale-making parties to share the work. These are really quite quick and easy to make. Tell him!

April J Harris said...

I've always been really intimidated by making tamales - particularly as corn husks are not easy to come by in the UK. When you can get corn on the cob it is often sold already husked (I know that's bad for the corn, but it's the way it is.) Anyway, your Sheet Pan Tamalaes look like a way for me to actually make tamales for the first time ever! Thank you for sharing this creative and delicious recipe with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. Pinned and will tweet :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thank you so much! I hope you'll make them soon and let me know how they came out for you. I'm making another batch next week.

Marlene Bellamy said...

Made this tonight, adapting recipe for a 9x9 pan and using a shredded beef taco filling I had on hand. It was yummy, and even Mr. Fussy, my tamale-eating husband, loved it. I've made tamale pies many times, but never worked with masa. He raved about the masa. Thanks for the idea. I have a lot of crock pot chicken carnitas in the freezer that I will use in the next round.

Marlene Bellamy said...

Jean, any idea how many cups of shredded meat filling you used? I don't cook with pork and will sub chicken or beef, as I did tonight. I used what I had on hand but didn't think to measure the amount.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Marlene, I'm so glad you and your husband liked it! Thanks so much for letting me know. I have never measured the pulled pork but would guess-timate that the 3-pound (raw) pork shoulder made about 6 cups of (cooked) shredded meat. A 3-pound boneless beef chuck roast would be about the same. When I sub in chicken for things like this, I like to cook boneless skinless chicken thighs. Let me know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

Made these with chicken. These are so good! Thank you for the recipe 😀

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you so much. Glad you liked it!

Unknown said...

This is tasty, easy and very freezable. Have made this with the pork roast and with chopped sirloin. (I get it in sale and put it through my 40 year old Cuisinart for a great texture.) It is a qualified success. For this, I am grateful.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Unknown. Isn't the Cuisinart great for that!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the recipe! My recently departed mother in law made this during the holiday season. It is an old family recipe called Turco.pronounced Tourco.i am going to use your recipe to keep it going. Old Torres family tradition.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

I had never herd of turcos, so googled it and learned it is a Texas Mexican pork empanada-type thing made on holidays. This sheet-pan method would certainly be less trouble than making the little pies, and I do love the masa. Do let me know if you make it and how it goes over with the Torres family!