7cupswater or reserved cooking liquid from meat filling of choice broth, water or combination (See Note 2)
Cut the pork shoulder into 1-inch cubes, season with the kosher salt. Set aside.
Remove the stems (and seeds if you want it milder in heat), from the guajillos, anchos and pasillas chiles and place in a bowl. Cover chiles with boiling water and let them steam for about 30 minutes until they are tender.
Put the chiles, 1 cup soaking liquid and 1 cup chicken stock, garlic, onion, jalapeño, Chimayo chili powder, cumin and Mexican oregano into a blender and purée until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh sieve if you prefer for a smoother sauce. Set aside.
Working in batches, brown the pork in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat with oil.
Add 4-5 cups chicken stock, chile purée and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for one hour, or until the meat is tender and the sauce is a thick, deep red color. Season with apple cider vinegar and additional salt if needed.
Let the pork rojo cool. Reserve 1 cup of the chili rojo sauce for masa. Remove meat and shred with forks. Return to pot with remaining chili rojo sauce, cover with wrap and refrigerate overnight for tamales.
Rule of thumb: 1 cup maseca to 1 cup liquid (reserved cooking liquid from meat filling of choice, broth, water or combination).
In a large bowl or mixer, whip the lard until it's light and airy, almost like cake frosting before adding the baking powder and salt.
Add 1 cup of the maseca and 1 cup of chili rojo sauce (or cooking liquid from filling of choice). Alternate 1 cup maseca to 1 cup liquid until all 8 cups are mixed together. Beat 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
You are looking for spreadable smooth consistency — think spreadable hummus. If the dough is too dry, add more liquid. If it's too wet, add more maseca.
Float Test: Grab a teaspoon of the mixed masa and drop it into a glass of cold water. If it floats it's mixed well and light. If it sinks, it needs more mixing.
Add the corn husks to a roasting pan or large bowl or pot. Cover the corn husks completely with hot water. Cover the bowl with a towel and let them soak for 1 hour to soften them up. When ready to make tamales, drain the water from the corn husks and pat them dry.
Fill the bottom of the steamer pot with water and add a copper penny (See Note 4). Add the basket and cover with several husks. Set aside.
Take one corn husk with smooth side facing up and wide end closest to you into your palm or on a clean work surface. Using a rubber spatula or large spoon, smear 3-4 tablespoons of masa in the middle of the corn husk and spread the masa in a thin layer to create rectangle shape, leaving the narrow end of the corn husk uncovered. Practice makes perfect!
Spoon 3-4 tablespoons (more if you prefer) of the cold pork rojo filling in the center of the corn husk. Fold one side of the husk up and over the filling then the other, fold the narrow pointed end up.
Place the folded tamales in the steamer with the open end facing up, making sure to lean them against the side of the pot so they don't fall down. Repeat until all tamales are in the pot.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to low, cover and steam for 1 hour, 1 hour 15 minutes.
Test to see if it's cooked. Using tongs, carefully remove a tamale and open it up. The masa should easily separate from the corn husks and the masa should be fairly firm. Serve immediately with salsa of choice.
To Freeze: Let cool completely and place in labeled/dated freezer bags, squeezing out excess air. Freeze for 3 months.
This is a bright red, sweet and earthy flavored New Mexico chile, and worth trying to find or order online.
Mexican oregano has notes of mild licorice and citrus. Mediterranean oregano is a member of the mint family and most often is used in Greek and Italian recipes. Mediterranean oregano is the one most found in spice racks and supermarkets.
For the liquid in this Masa recipe you will need equal parts to the Maseca - Instant corn masa mix. That liquid can be either 8 cups water, 8 cups broth, 8 cups liquid from your filling (like my Pork Rojo sauce, or chile verde sauce, or braising liquid from Birria de Res etc.) or any combination. As with working with any form of dough: if the dough is too dry, add more liquid. If it's too wet, add more maseca.
The Penny Trick - To check your water level and avoid a scorched pot, place a penny below the steamer basket and fill with water. It should rattle while the tamales are cooking. If the sound stops, add more water.