The tamale is one of the most popular Cuban dishes… and for good reason! Traditional “tamales criollos”, as they are otherwise known in Cuba, are simple in principle made with uncomplicated ingredients like pork (roast or stew), vegetables, a mix of spices and a rather unique paste made from ground corn, rather than cornmeal.
The process of putting everything together, however, may take some time, that’s why the best way of preparing them is the good old Cuban way – by involving the entire family in the process, listening to music and turning it into a true bonding experience!
Enjoy this classic Cuban tamales recipe below
- 1 1/2 lb braised pork cubed into small pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil fir frying
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper chopped
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 small can tomato sauce 8 oz
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 3 cups ground corn fresh or frozen
- 3/4 cup lard or butter
- 2 1/2 cups masa flour
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 24 to 32 corn husks
- Add the olive oil to an appropriately sized skillet pan and fry the meat so it releases it juices and fat.
- Fry the onion in the pork fat along with the red pepper, stirring often so they absorb the flavors and soften on all sides.
- When the onion becomes translucent, add the crushed garlic and fry on medium heat for another 2 minutes.
- Now stir in the tomato sauce and cook gently for 10 minutes, until the meat cooks through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile add the corn kernels along with the butter in a food processor and blend to a thick consistency.
- Combine the crushed corn with the masa flour in a separate bowl and mix. Pour in the chicken broth and gently incorporate into the mixture. Season to you taste.
- Finally mix in the meat along with the masa mixture and stir until well-mixed.
- It's time to assemble the tamale now. We recommend using 2 corn husks per piece of tamale for a secure hold. Fold them the usual way and place them in a large pot and fill halfway up with water (you can also use a steamer if you have one at your disposal).
- Cook your delicious Cuban Tamales for about 1 – 1½ hours until you insert a fork into them and it comes out clean.