• Ingredients:

    For the Salsa Colorada:

    pounds of tomatoes

    3 cloves garlic

    3 guajillo chiles

    2 ounces pumpkin seeds

    2 ounces sesame seeds

    1 small stick of cinnamon

    1 cup chicken stock

    2 tsp salt

    1 ounce of lard

    1 pound lean pork, cut into strips

    For the Masa:

    3 cups masa harina

    6 cups water or broth

    ½ cup lard or butter

    2 teaspoons salt

    Fillings:

    Sliced green olives

    Capers

    Thin slices of (roasted, peeled) bell pepper

    Raisins

    Banana leaves, about 2 pounds, and/or aluminum foil sheets

    Directions:

    Make the salsa first. Place tomatoes and garlic all on a baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes or until very roasted. (if you want to roast your bell pepper for the filling, halve it and roast it now, too)

    Toast the dried chiles on a heavy skillet for a few seconds until fragrant. Cut out stems, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.

    In the same dry skillet, toast the seeds and cinnamon stick for a few seconds until nutty. Put into blender container.

    Pulse a few times to make a coarse powder.

    Now add the roasted tomatoes and garlic, soaked chiles (discard the soaking liquid) and half a cup of the chicken broth. Blend. Add more broth if necessary to make a thick, smooth salsa. It should be about the consistency of a milkshake.

    Strain through a fine sieve and set aside.

    For the masa, combine the masa harina and water in a large pot. Use a whisk to remove lumps. Bring to boil, stirring, then simmer 10 minutes until thickened. Add the lard, oil, and salt. Stir and cook over low heat another 10 minutes. It should be about the consistency of porridge. Set aside.

    Cut the banana leaves into squares about 12x8 inches. Bring a large, wide pot of water to boil and blanch the leaves one at a time for about 45 seconds each. Use tongs to help get them completely immersed in the water. Stack on a plate and cover with a damp cloth.

    To fold tamales:

    Lay a banana leaf on a clean flat surface. Plop about ¾ cup masa into the center of it. Top that with about ¼ cup of the salsa and a piece of pork. Arrange any other fillings you like in the center of the masa and spoon a little more salsa over the top. Fold the side closest to you over the masa, and bring the side farthest from you towards yourself so that you end up with a long, skinny rectangle. Fold one long end under, then pick up the package like an ice cream cone and give it a little tap to get filling settled. Fold other long end over. Set aside

    (If banana leaf cracks, wrap the package in a sheet of foil.)

    Line a very large pot with the imperfect banana leaves and add about an inch of water. Stack tamales inside, seams down.

    Cover tightly and steam for 1.5 hours.

    Cool and serve