Dulces’ New Year’s Tamales
A delicious recipe to help you keep warm this winter!

Dulces’ New Year’s Tamales

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Dulces Hispanic Store in Aberdeen makes tamales on New Year’s Day every year to thank the community and God for all their support. They welcome everyone to their store located at 1111 Sixth Ave. SW between Perkins and the Salvation Army. The tamales are free! 

In Mexico, the reason people make tamales on the first day of the year is because of the cold weather. They want something hot to warm them up. I discovered this tradition when I was interviewing the owners of Dulces, José Salas and Joana Monterroso, and decided to give their recipe a try for myself and share the steps with you. //

Ingredients

Items you can buy at Dulces! 

  • 1 bag of Maseca
  • 2 lbs of pork shoulder (or any meat)
  • 1 ½ lbs of pork butter (or regular butter)
  • 13-16 sun-dried guajillo chilis
  • 1 head and 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. of cumin (not ground)
  • Bag of hojas (corn husks)
  • Salt (at least 2 Tbsp.)

Directions

  1. Soak corn husks in a kettle or sink full of water for at least 30 minutes or until softened. Soaking overnight is ideal. Use a heavy object to keep them submerged.
  2. Bring a stock pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. 
  3. Place pork shoulder, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 1 head of garlic in stock pot. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium-high and boil for 2 hours. Skim off protein that bubbles to the surface as it boils. Save the broth when it’s done!
  4. While meat is cooking, remove seeds from dried guajillo chilis.
  5. Place seedless guajillo chilis in a saucepan and fill pan with water. Wash and rinse chilis with your hands. Drain the water. Do this a few times.
  6. Fill the same pan with enough water to cover chilis.
  7. Place pan on stove on high. Once it’s about to boil, take it off the burner and let the chilis soak for at least 30 minutes.
  8. When the chilis have expanded in size and are limp and soft, transfer whole chilis into blender. Add garlic cloves, cumin, and 2 cups of broth from the meat. Blend until smooth. This is your chili sauce.
  9. Once meat is finished, spoon out meat and break it up. You can tell when meat is done if it falls apart as you press a fork against it.
  10. Transfer pork to new pan and shred with a fork. Cook on stove on medium-high heat. Add three-fourths of chili sauce to pan. Add salt to taste. Save remaining chili sauce for later.
  11. Stir constantly for 15 minutes, then take pork off the burner and begin to make the Masa.
  12. To make Masa, add 1 ½ lbs of pork butter to a bowl and mix until creamy. Add 8 cups of Maseca, remaining chili sauce, and 3 cups of broth (from stock pot). Add salt to taste. Mix and add more broth as needed. Note: too much water will make the masa too hard to spread on the hojas.
  13. Grab a steamer (or stock pot with a strainer) and fill it up with water so that it just touches the holes at the bottom of the strainer. Add just enough husks to the bottom of the steamer to help with insulating the steam.
  14. Once all the ingredients are ready, drain corn husks and spread masa over the middle of the husk. Add pork filling then fold the tamale. Add tamale to a steamer, standing upward (pointed edge down).
  15. Once the steamer is full, add enough corn husks on top to help keep the moisture in, cover with lid, and steam on medium-low heat for 1-2 hours.
  16. Remove the lid, let cool, and enjoy!