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People in the Mississippi Delta are very serious about their tamales, which were introduced to the region decades ago by Mexican migrant workers. Big or small, hot or mild, steamed or stewed every version is delicious. For the sauce the Espresso adds a jolt of rich taste to this unusual barbecue sauce, which works well with pork, beef and poultry, complementing and rounding out the flavor of the meat.
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup ketchup
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons dried ancho chile powder
- 2 large garlic cloves
- coarse salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 3 1⁄2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, tied
- hot water
- 2 cups masa harina (see Note)
- 1 1⁄2 cups hot water
- 1⁄3 cup vegetable shortening, solid
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
espresso barbecue sauce
- 1 large onion, finely chopped for the sauce
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3⁄4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup brewed espresso
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons dry mustard, mixed with
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1⁄4 cup dried ancho chile powder
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- In a food processor, combine the onion, ketchup, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chile powder, garlic and 2 tablespoons each of salt and pepper and pulse until smooth. Transfer the paste to a large re-sealable plastic bag. Add the pork roast, turning to coat it with the paste; seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F Set the pork in an enameled casserole and cover with the paste. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Cover the casserole and roast the meat in the oven for 3 1/2 hours, or until meltingly tender; turn the roast occasionally and add more water if it is looking dry. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let cool. Remove the strings and pull the meat into thick shreds. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the Espresso Barbecue Sauce.
- FOR THE MASA HARINA: Put the masa harina in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of hot water in a thin stream and beat at low speed until a dough forms. Continue beating the dough at medium low speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Add the shortening, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the baking powder and 2 teaspoons of salt. Scrape the dough into a large bowl and fold in 2 1/2 cups of the shredded pork.
- Arrange the corn husks on a large work surface. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the tamale filling into the center of each husk. Fold the ends of the husks over the filling, then roll the husks up to enclose the filling completely. Alternatively, wrap 1/4 cup of tamale filling in a rectangle of foil, forming an oval shape, and twist the ends securely. Place the tamales, seam side down, in a large steamer basket, in several layers if necessary.
- Steam the tamales until the filling is firm, about 20 minutes. Serve the tamales piping hot, with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side. Serves 6 to 8.
- NOTE: Masa harina, a flour made from corn that has been treated with lime is used to make tortillas and tamales. It is available at most supermarkets.
- MAKE AHEAD: The tamales can be prepared through Step 4 and frozen for up to 1 month in a sturdy plastic bag.
- BEER: These tamales are best suited to a full flavored beer. Try the Brooklyn Brown Ale from Brooklyn Brewery or the Red Ale from Abita Brewery in Louisiana.
- FOR THE ESPRESSO BARBECUE SAUCE: Combine One large onion, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup,espresso coffee, molasses, mustard, chile powder, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, salt and pepper, in a medium saucepan and simmer them over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by about half, approximately 45 minutes. Let cool completely, strain, then puree in a blender until smooth.
- Serve the sauce right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- MAKE AHEAD: The Espresso Barbecue Sauce can be refrigerated in a jar for up to 3 months.
- Food & Wine Magazine’s Cookbook.