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Default Rec: Tamales

Here's the tamale recipe we used. This is the original, but we multiplied it
for the group. I've added notes where we seemed to deviate from this.

Red Chile Pork Tamales

Corn Husks


3 pounds pork meat

10 oz. chile pods, or to taste, rinsed (Fernandez New Mexico Chile

Garlic powder, to taste

Salt, to taste

Cumin, pinch

Tamale Dough:

5 pounds tamale masa

6 teaspoons baking powder

4T salt

1 1/2 c lard or veg. shortening

2 cups pork stock, hot

Soak corn husks in warm water until soft and pliable, about 20-30 minutes.


Cook pork in a large stew pot with plenty of water. Cover and simmer until
well done, 3 - 6 hours. Remove meat from broth, reserving 2 cups of stock
for the dough. Let meat cool before handling, then chop or shred into small
pieces. (We used pork shoulder that was braised. We removed all of the fat
possible. Not sure if that was the best idea, but it's what we did.)

Soften chile pods in boiling water for about 4 minutes. (Our pods were
soaked for several hours. Not sure if this made any difference at all.)
Remove stems; remove seeds as desired to reduce heat. Place softened pods in
blender and puree at medium speed until the chiles become a thick liquid and
you can no longer see skin or seeds.

Add garlic powder, salt, and cumin, to the sauce. Mix sauce with meat.

(We ended up with quite a bit of the "sauce" left over. Not sure why that
happened, but if we had used it all, it would have been pretty goopy. It
might have been because we used some of the chile soaking water to encourage
the pods to puree. But they weren't cooperating without the additional

Tamale dough:

Mix masa, baking powder, and salt, and work together well. Add lard (or
shortening) and work into dough. Continue working dough and add hot stock
until mixture becomes the consistency of a thick spread. (We seemed to need
a LOT more water than this called for. Not sure if it was a measuring error
or what. After the masa sat for a while, it seemed to firm up even more, so
we ended up working with something that was probably a little too stiff. It
should have been "spreadable" like peanut butter, but it wasn't.)


Remove husks from water as you use them, and wipe off water. Use smooth side
up. Spread each husk with 2 heaping tablespoons of dough. Add chile/meat
mixture in the center. Fold the sides towards the center, one side at a
time. Fold bottom up. Place on end in a rack, steamer basket, or whatever
you will use for steaming the tamales.

When tamales fill the pot, add water to below level of steamer basket. Steam
for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or cook at 15 pounds pressure in pressure cooker for 30

DH and I did a final taste test tonight, and we both agreed that the tamales
could have been better if they were a little smaller, with thinner masa and
less meat. And in some cases, the meat could have been chopped or shredded a
bit more. There were still some "chunks" in there.

So there you go.

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