The holidays are also known as tamales season in many Hispanic communities. The reasons? One of the most delicious Mexican American traditions for the holiday season is to make and eat tamales during a period commonly called Guadalupe Reyes.
Tamales season officially kicks off December 12 with the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe and ends on Three Kings Day, on January 6.
You can enjoy tamales any time of the year, so I did some research for my friends who don’t have an abuela sending them these delicious treats. This pork tamales recipe can be made using an Instant Pot to simplify the process.
Instant Pot tamales recipe
Cook: 2 hours
Time to come to pressure: 30 mins
Total: 2 hours, 30 mins
Makes: 14 servings
Pork Filling Ingredients:
- 1 TBSP oil
- 1 TBSP kosher salt
- 2 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder roast
- 6 garlic cloves (smashed)
- 2 dried ancho chile pods (remove stem and seeds)
- 2 dried New Mexico chile pods (remove stem and seeds)
- 1 tsp oregano (Mexican)
- 1 C water
- 1 C Salsa (Select a salsa with as little liquid as possible)
Masa Dough Ingredients:
- 4 C masa harina
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 C chicken broth ( chicken broth and pork roast juice should equal 3 1.2 cups)
- 1/2 C oil
- 14-18 corn husks (Mexican food section)
- Warm water (for assembling tamales)
- Large pot w/ lid
- Instant Pot w/ streamer rack
- Large bowl
- Large measuring cup
- Fine mesh sieve
- Electric mixer w/ mixing bowl
- Paddle attachment
- Small bowl
Prep corn husks prior to actual beginning of the recipe:
- Add corn husks to a large pot. Add warm water to the pot for at least one hour. (The corn husks can be soaked overnight.)
- Use the lid of the pot to weight the corn husks down.(This will make sure that all of the husks are equally soaked).
Pork Filling Directions:
- Set Instant Pot on Saute mode. Add oil. Heat.
- Coat both sides of the pork roast with salt. Add the pork
- roast to the Instant Pot. Sear the roast on both sides until the sides are browned. (About 5 minutes on each side)
- Add garlic, chile pods, oregano, and water to the Instant Pot. Seal the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 60 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release when it has been on for 60 minutes.
- Transfer the roast to a large bowl.
- Transfer the cooking liquid into a measuring cup.
- Pour it through a fine mesh sieve.
- Press down on the chiles and garlic to force out as much liquid as possible.
- Set aside both the liquid and meat until they cool enough to handle. ( Pull out the fat chunks and disregard.)
- Add in salsa.
Masa Filling Directions:
- Using an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment on low) combine masa flour, baking powder, and salt in the mixing bowl.
- Combine chicken broth and the drippings from the pork roast to equal 3 1/2 cups. Add the cups of liquid to the masa flour. Add the rest of the oil (the 1/2 cup). Use the paddle attachment whip the masa mixture set on medium high for about 10 minutes. (Stop half way through the 10 minutes to scrape the sides of the container.)
- Measure to make sure that the tamales fit in your Instant Pot. (You will place the tamales vertically on the steamer rack.) Each tamale should be no more than 6 inches)
- Before you start making the tamales set aside a small bowl of warm water in your work area. Start with one corn husk by putting the pointy end of the corn husk is facing you. (This will look like a capital V)
- Scoop a generous amount of the masa on the husk. Wet your fingers in the bowl of warm water. Make a thin layer of masa in the shape of a square. ( Starting about 3-4 inches from the bottom of the point (the bottom of the V) spread a thin layer of the masa extending to the edges. Continue to spread the masa to about one inch from the top of the corn husk.
- Filling the corn husk in a straight line in the middle of the husk with the pork. Stop to allow enough room at both the top and bottom of the corn husk so that you can seal the tamale. Add enough filling but leave room so that you can wrap the sides completely around to seal it.
Additional prep: shred long pieces of an extra husk to tie the folded tips in place.
- Hold the husk, grab both the right and left sides bringing them together until the sides meet. Check to make sure that both sides of the masa are touching. Begin to pull the left side of the husk away. Wrap the right side over the masa.
- Next, take the left side of the husk and wrap it over the right side. Put the husk seam down, with the point of the V still facing you, fold the bottom tip up towards the seam.
- Using the shredded long pieces of husk to tie the tamales holding the folded tip in place.
- Put the steamer rack into the Instant Pot. Add at least one cup of water (or more if room allows) to fill the base of the Instant Pot until it comes to the bottom of the rack.
- Carefully put the tamales in the Instant Pot vertically, open side up. (If necessary push the tamales down a little bit in order to allow the lid to fit.)
- Close the lid.
- Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
- Garnish with salsa, chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and sour cream.