Theresa Leon's Tamales Recipe 
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Theresa Leon's Tamales

2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef or pork roast
2 white onions, peeled and quartered
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
Cold water
2 bags (8 ounces each) dried cornhusks
6 ounces dried red chiles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 pound lard
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 pounds fresh masa
Green or black olives
Parchment paper, for cooking

Place roast, onions and garlic clove in a large stockpot.

Pour in enough water to cover and add 2teaspoons salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until cooked through, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, soak cornhusks in water to cover until pliable, about 1 hour.

When meat is cooked through, remove from water and allow to cool. Discard onions and garlic. Reserve cooking water.

Shred meat and set aside.

Remove seeds from chile pods. Cover pods with 1 cup cold water (use more water if needed to cover) and let soak until soft and pliable, about 10 minutes. Place chiles in a blender with 1 cup of the soaking water, 1 teaspoon salt and the chopped garlic. Blend until puréed, adding more water if needed for a smooth purée. Strain mixture through a sieve; set aside.

In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour, stirring constantly, until golden. Add chile purée and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked meat.

With an electric mixer, whip lard and baking powder until fluffy. Mix in masa a little at a time. Mixture should be light and fluffy; add up to 2 cups of the reserved meat broth if needed for the right consistency. If desired, add about 1/4 cup of the chile mixture to give the masa some color.

Shake excess water from cornhusks. Spread each husk with about 1/4 cup masa. Add about 2 tablespoons meat-chile mixture and an olive. Fold the husk over to wrap the tamale, then wrap in parchment paper, securing with a piece of extra husk used as string.

Stack tamales in a steamer basket. Steam over medium-low heat about 1 hour, or until husk easily peels away from filling.

Makes about 45 to 50 tamales.

Approximate values per serving (2 tamales): 523 calories, 32 g fat, 44 mg cholesterol, 14 g protein, 45 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 552 mg sodium, 55 percent calories from fat.

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