Pork Tamales From Scratch

Main Ingredient: Maseca

Meal: Tamales Filled with Shredded Pork & Red Sauce

Total time: 45minutes

   •Prep, 25minutes

   •Cooking, 20minutes


Ingredients for the dough:

   •   2 cups maseca

   •   1-1/2 cups low sodium beef broth (or chicken broth)

   •   1 tsp baking powder

   •   1/2 tsp salt

   •   2/3 cup lard

   •   1/2 tsp cumin

   •   8-ounce package dried corn husks.


Ingredients for the filling; shredded pork:

   • 1/2 pounds pork loin shoulder or butt

   • 1 large onion(chopped)

   • 1 bay leaves

   • 2 cloves garlic

   • 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves

   1 tsp cumin & chilli powder

   • 1 tsp salt

   1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Ingredients for the red sauce:

   4 dried California chile pods

   • 2 cups water

   1 tsp dried oregano leaves, cumin, chilli & onion powder

   • 2 cloves garlic

   • 1 tbsp oil & all purpose flour

   • 1/4 tsp salt


Yield: 20  servings of Mexican tamales filled with shredded pork & red sauce


For the Pork Filling:

1. Place pork, onion, bay leaf, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper in a slow cooker.

2. Cover the pork with water and cook on low for 8Hours/overnight.

3. If you would rather cook it on the stovetop, follow the same directions, adding everything to a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer until pork is tender (2-4Hours).


For the Dough:

1. Soak the corn husks in a bowl of very hot or boiling water for at least 30minutes.

2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the lard & 1 tbsp of broth until fluffy, about 3-5minutes.

3. Combine the Masa Harina, baking powder, salt, cumin. Stir into the lard mixture and beat well with an electric mixer.

4. Add more broth as necessary to form a very soft dough. Best on high speed for several minutes.

5. To test if the Masa tamale dough is ready, place a tiny ball of dough into a glass of water. If the dough floats, it's ready. If the dough sinks to the bottom of the glass then beat it for longer and add a little more broth. Test again, it should spread like creamy peanut butter & be slightly sticky.

6. Lay a corn husk, glossy side up on the counter with the wide end at the top. Scoop a bug rounded tablespoon of masa(or more if you want bigger tamales) and place it towards the top half of the corn husk.

7. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the dough & use your hands to press and spread the masa into a thin layer, about 1/4inch thick, along the top half of the corn husk.

8. Spoon a tablespoon of pork filling in a line down the center of the dough.

9. Fold in one long side of the husk about 1/3 over dough & filling. File in the other long side, overlapping the first (like folding a business letter). Fold the bottom of the husk up.

10. Add water to the bottom of your steamer or instant pot (about 1 cup water, or enough to cover the bottom of the pot and not go above the wire rack).

11. Place tamales on rack in steamer or instant pot, standing upright, with the folded end down and open end up. Don't over pack the pan, just pack them tightly enough to keep the tamales in an upright position.

12. Steam for 50minutes-1hour in the steamer, or, if using an instant pot, cook on manual for 18-20minutes depending on how big you made the tamales. Allow pressure to naturally release for 10mimutes, and then quick release.

13. To test if they're done, remove one and try to pull the husk off. If it comes off easily and cleanly, they're done.


For the red sauce:

1. Use rubber gloves to remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles while rinsing them under cold water.

2. Place Chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes then remove from heat.

3. Transfer the chiles and water to a blender. Add oregano, cumin, chili powder & onion powder, garlic and blend until smooth. Set aside.

4. In the same saucepan, you used to cook the chiles, add oil and cook over medium heat.

5. Add flour & salt and stir for 1minute. Strain the chile sauce from the blender and add it to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10minutes.

6. Drain the cooked pork. Preserve the broth for use in the tamale masa dough (if desired) and shred the meat with a fork.

7. Add Chile sauce to the meat, reserving 1/4 cup sauce and stir in enough of the reserved broth to form a moist, spreadable mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.