tolima style pork tamales

ingredients for marinade/guiso sauce:

1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 tablespoons achiote paste
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 pounds pork loin, chopped in 1-inch pieces

ingredients for masa and tamales:


5 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
4 cups precooked cornmeal
*2 cups marinade/ guiso sauce
3 cups cooked white rice
1 ½ cups frozen peas


40 plantain leaves, cut into 24-inch rectangles
2 cups gold potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/2 -inch pieces
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved

For the marinade: Place onion, garlic, bell pepper, scallions, cumin, onion powder, achiote, salt, and stock in a blender container. Blend until smooth. Place pork loin pieces in a sealable plastic bag with 1 ½ cup blended mixture. Seal, press with fingers to distribute marinade, and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Place leftover sauce in a jar and refrigerate.
For the masa: Heat broth in 6-quart stock pot over low-medium heat; about 2 minutes. Do not boil. Stir in cornmeal and 2 cups of marinade sauce. Mix with a large spoon until thoroughly combined. Stir in rice and peas. Remove from heat and set aside.
To assemble tamales: Carefully pass each banana leaf over an open flame (from stove burner) to make malleable and soften.
Place 1 leaf on a work surface and place a second leaf on top, making a “t”. Place 1 cup masa mixture in the middle of leaves, top with ½ cup marinated pork loin pieces, 2 slices of potato, 2-3 slices of carrot, and half a hardboiled egg. Bring the corners of the banana leaves up over the filling, grabbing them with one hand and securing with cooking twine with the other; making little “purses”. Continue assembling until all filling and masa has been used.
Bring a large tamal steamer with water to a boil. Carefully place remaining banana leaves over steaming grate. Arrange tamales in steamer, cover with lid, and steam for 2 ½ hours. Remove tamales from pot and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Cut twine and serve.