Heirloom Kitchen Promotion

For most of my life, I have felt like an orphan in search of a past. I was out of my parents’ home right after my father died. I was 17. I longed for a heritage that included grandmothers teaching me how to make homemade pasta, bake cookies or to leave me her weathered rolling pin to remember our times together. I made my own culinary heritage by teaching myself to cook and buying vintage rolling pins, yet I still long for a connection to a past.

It is books like Anna Francese Gass’ Heirloom Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and Family Stories from the Tables of Immigrant Women that bring me comfort. Experienced hands cutting noodles adorn the cover of this title, stories fill its pages and recipes from the women behind those stories reached out to me like a beacon guiding me home.

Heirloom Kitchen begins in Europe and travels the globe with stops in Africa, Asia, Central & South America, and ends in the Middle East. The birth of this brilliant book began when Anna realized she didn’t know how to make her family’s meatballs – the recipe lived in her mother’s memory. Thus began the journey whose first step was her mother and ends after sharing 45 strong immigrant women’s recipes as well as a small glance at their remarkable lives.

I can tell you that this book has touched me like no other. I am better for having read it and I will be further healed after cooking these women’s recipes. I will begin with those dishes I have tagged: Gina’s bocconotti Calabrese, Tina’s Chinese new year dumplings, Shekaiba’s Bolani, and Fethie’s Maqluba. Take the journey with me, you will be all the better for it.

We have one recipe – Lucy’s hummus – online as well as the recipe below for members to try.

The publisher has posted a sample from the book that you may read now.

Janet’s Pork Tamales
Add this recipe to your Bookshelf (click the blue +Bookshelf button).

Serves: 12 TO 15 (makes 40 to 50 tamales | Prep: 4 hours |
Total: 6 hours

THIS RECIPE IS a true labor of love. To lighten the load, Janet will make the filling a few days earlier than she needs it so when it’s time to fill the masa, she simply has to heat the pork up in a pan before stuffing the tamales. Janet’s Refried Beans (page 185) can be used as an optional filling.

For the pork filling

  • 3 pounds (1.4 kg) pork butt, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
  • ½ large white onion, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • large ancho chiles (dried poblano chiles, about 3 ounces/85g)
  • 40 to 50 corn husks

For the masa

  • 1 1/3 cups (275 g) refined pork lard
  • 4 cups (520 g) instant masa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Make the pork filling. Combine the pork with the onion, 1 tablespoon of the salt, the pepper, and 6 cups (1.4 L) water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 3 hours.

2. While the pork simmers, combine the ancho chiles and 1 cup (240 ml) water in a pot, bring to a boil, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the chiles from the water, reserving the cooking liquid, then remove their stems and seeds. Puree the chiles in a blender with ¼ cup (60 ml) of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

3. When the pork is done (it will be fork-tender), remove it from the water and shred with two forks. Reserve 4 cups (960 ml) of the pork broth.

4. Combine one-third of the pureed ancho chiles, the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, ¼ cup (60 ml) of the reserved broth, and the shredded pork in a large pot over medium heat and cook to meld the flavors, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

5. Soak the corn husks in hot water until soft, 15 to 20 minutes, while you make the masa.

6. Make the masa. Beat the lard in a large stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer on high until it becomes very fluffy, at least 10 minutes. Set aside.

7. Combine the rest of the ancho chile puree with the masa, baking powder, salt, and approximately 3½ cups (840 ml) of the reserved broth in a large bowl. Mix by hand until a sticky dough forms, adding more broth, a few tablespoons at a time, if too dry.

8. Turn the stand mixer back on low speed and slowly add small amounts of the hand-mixed dough to the lard. Mix until the dough has a paste-like consistency, 2 to 3 minutes.

9. Remove the corn husks from the water and wring them dry. Lay them on a towel and arrange similar-sized husks together for consistent tamales.

10. Place one husk upright in the palm of your hand. Spoon and spread the masa paste on the bottom half of the husk in a very thin layer. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of pork filling, depending on the size of the husk, and fold the husk into a tamale (see right). Tie a strip of extra husk around it to hold it closed. Repeat for the rest of the masa and filling.

11. Place 4 cups (960 ml) water in a large steamer pot. Line the bottom of the steamer insert with small and broken pieces of corn husk. Layer the tamales on top, arranging them side by side in one direction, then in a different direction for the next layer, to promote the flow of steam.

12. Place a small dish atop the tamales, then cover with a tea towel. Cover with the lid and steam for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, in the steamer for 1 hour.

13. Serve with Refried Beans (page 185) and Salsa Verde (page 184).

Recipe excerpt from Heirloom Kitchen with permission of Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins.

The publisher is offering 3 copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post and this forum post.
Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to
the next entry option – the blog comment. After that, there are
additional options that you can complete for more entries.

Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on July 5th, 2019.

Post a comment


  • ravensfan  on  May 2, 2019

    Maria's eggplant patties

  • nhansen0715  on  May 2, 2019

    Emily's Ukrainian deviled or "stuffed" eggs

  • JoelleStr  on  May 2, 2019

    Bea's Hungarian Paprikash. Or the Chicken Adobo.

  • susankay  on  May 2, 2019

    Marina’s stuffed cabbage

  • lselke  on  May 2, 2019

    Marina's poppyseed cake.

  • jmay42066  on  May 2, 2019

    Nikki's cashew chicken (Nikki's poul ak nwa)

  • Alleycat  on  May 2, 2019

    Chocolate-enrobed spice cake with plum filling or perfect pierogies.

  • Lmocooks  on  May 2, 2019

    Ssamjang sauce

  • rchesser  on  May 2, 2019

    Shekaiba's scorched potato and rice (Shekaiba's potato tahdig)

  • BittyCornwell  on  May 2, 2019

    I want to try so many of these, but I have never had beef with braised cucumbers, and I am very interested in trying it.

  • Amdona  on  May 2, 2019

    Gina's italian hand pies

  • amyz218  on  May 2, 2019

    Shekaiba's beef and rice with carrot raisin dressing (Shekaiba's palaw)

  • JRumi  on  May 3, 2019

    Angela’s Ropa vieja

  • Mtetpon  on  May 3, 2019

    I want to try the Italian hand pies.

  • vickster  on  May 3, 2019

    Anke's German Potato Salad

  • DonnyB  on  May 3, 2019

    Lisetta's chocolate-hazelnut spread

  • kmn4  on  May 3, 2019

    Amina's koshary

  • JenjiRM  on  May 3, 2019

    Marina's stuffed cabbage

  • braabpro  on  May 3, 2019

    Magda's pork adobo

  • NaomiH  on  May 3, 2019

    Shobhana's dosas

  • mllamas  on  May 3, 2019

    Was just commenting to my partner that we never eat enough eggplant, so I'd make Maria's eggplant patties.

  • sipa  on  May 3, 2019

    Tsilia's gefilte fish

  • jenmatt  on  May 3, 2019

    Lisetta's Sardinian rabbit

  • jluvs2bake  on  May 3, 2019

    Lydia's flan

  • hbakke  on  May 3, 2019

    Rocío's ceviche

  • Laura1  on  May 3, 2019

    Shobhana's dosas

  • ktcupcake  on  May 3, 2019

    Irene's cheese pies

  • banba1  on  May 3, 2019

    Not an entry, just a comment: beautiful post. Thanks for the lovely writing!

  • banba1  on  May 3, 2019

    I'd try Emily's sour cherry sauce. Yum 🙂

  • allthatsleftarethecrumbs  on  May 3, 2019

    Shobhana's lentil dal.

  • CrystalLady  on  May 4, 2019

    No doubt it would be Bea's Hungarian paprikash my favorite that I never have made.

  • minichau1  on  May 4, 2019

    Italian hand pies from Gina Boc!

  • htomren  on  May 4, 2019

    Soon's glass noodle stir-fry

  • lbguerrant  on  May 4, 2019

    poppyseed cake!

  • demomcook  on  May 4, 2019

    Marina's poppy seed cake – I'm hoping it is like my grandmother's.

  • matag  on  May 5, 2019

    Nelly's pastitsio

  • southerncooker  on  May 5, 2019

    Chizuko's cucumber salad

  • dtremit  on  May 5, 2019

    I'd love to make the stuffed cabbage, which was one of my grandmother's favorite dishes.

  • lean1  on  May 5, 2019

    Maria's eggplant patties

  • mpdeb98  on  May 5, 2019

    Emily's apple "pancakes" (Emily's apple blinchiki)

  • sarahawker  on  May 5, 2019

    Susanne's apple donuts (Susanne's appelkoken)

  • tennyogirl  on  May 5, 2019

    Jennipher's fufu

  • ebs  on  May 5, 2019

    Monika's perfect pierogies

  • amandabeck  on  May 6, 2019

    Stuffed vinegar peppers!

  • Dannausc  on  May 6, 2019

    Emily’s sour cherry sauce

  • saregama  on  May 6, 2019

    Beautifully written post. Soon’s japchae would be first on my list.

  • thecharlah  on  May 6, 2019

    Anke's German potato salad

  • t.t  on  May 8, 2019

    Gina's Italian hand pies (Gina's bocconotti Calabrese)

  • popoff  on  May 8, 2019

    Marina's stuffed cabbage

  • verorenee  on  May 9, 2019

    Marina's poppy seed cake

  • Shelley.b  on  May 11, 2019

    Marinas poppyseed cake

  • jigglesfrog  on  May 14, 2019

    Gina's rice balls (Gina's arancini)

  • leilx  on  May 15, 2019

    Amina's Koshary and Fethi's Maqluba

  • debbiehb  on  May 18, 2019

    Tsilia's gefilte fish

  • elsid22  on  May 18, 2019

    Stuffed cabbage!

  • Kduncan  on  May 20, 2019

    Magda's pork adobo

  • Siegal  on  May 20, 2019

    STuffed cabbage!!

  • Aminata95  on  May 20, 2019

    Gina's Italian hand pies

  • annieski  on  May 21, 2019

    WHAT! Bea's cheese and dill Danish

  • Scotsman61  on  May 21, 2019

    Maria's eggplant patties

  • percussion03  on  May 22, 2019

    Love the concept of this book! And Bea’s Serbian Pita

  • lpatterson412  on  May 23, 2019

    Susanne's apple donuts!

  • love2chow  on  May 23, 2019

    Nikki's cashew chicken (Nikki's poul ak nwa) or Fethie's layered rice, chicken, and vegetable casserole (Fethie's maqluba)

  • EmilyR  on  May 23, 2019

    so many to choose from… Maria's eggplant patties to start.

  • cellenly  on  May 24, 2019

    Daisy's steamed fish

  • Bakersdozen  on  May 25, 2019

    I want to try Anke's beef stew (Anke's goulash).

  • AnnaZed  on  May 31, 2019

    Gina's Italian hand pies (Gina's bocconotti Calabrese)

  • artthecat  on  June 2, 2019

    Amina's koshary

  • Sfgordon  on  June 10, 2019

    Daisy's steamed fish

  • lahower  on  June 11, 2019

    Lucy's hummus!!

  • KarenDel  on  June 13, 2019

    Emily's sour cherry sauce

  • hrk  on  June 14, 2019

    Shari's scorched rice (Shari's tahdig)

  • AlaskaEll  on  June 14, 2019

    Cherie's stuffed zucchini (Cherie's kousa mahshi)

    Each summer I always end up with an overabundance of zucchini. Might as well make the most of it. 🙂

  • mklittle  on  June 14, 2019

    Nelly's Church festival Spanikopita.

  • LeMinou  on  June 14, 2019

    Cashew chicken

  • Blackeyedsusans  on  June 14, 2019

    Janet's pork tamales

  • TammyDee  on  June 14, 2019

    I would go for Marina's Stuffed Cabbage first. I love stuffed cabbage and this sounds delicious.

  • mrscahughes  on  June 15, 2019

    OMG tamales, hummus, stuffed cabbage

  • sequoia55  on  June 16, 2019

    Magda's pork adobo

  • orchidlady01  on  June 17, 2019

    Anke's German potato salad

  • Amandaspamanda  on  June 20, 2019

    I would try Rocío's ceviche

  • lgroom  on  June 20, 2019

    Irene's cheese pies

  • LaurenE  on  June 22, 2019

    Ssamjang sauce

  • starzine  on  June 24, 2019

    Gina's tagliatelle.

  • LeMinou  on  June 26, 2019

    Poppyseed cake

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  July 3, 2019

    Perfect pierogies

  • JJWong  on  July 4, 2019

    Marina's Poppyseed Cake

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!