guajillo chile pork tamales with red chile sauce

Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale

Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale

I got a girls, say she long and tall

She sleeps in the kitchen with her feets in the hall

Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got ‘em for sale, I mean

Yes, she got ‘em for sale, yeah Hot tamales and they’re red hot,

Yes she got ‘em for sale

“They’re Red Hot” by Robert Johnson

Continuing the Latin American themed week, I decided to finally attempt tamales.  There are millions of recipes out there for this dish, so I decided to create a hybrid recipe (thus obviously ensuring success).  Ultimately the recipe came from three different places on the internet and the side of the instant masa bag.  I was really happy with the final results.

Two notes:

1. making the red chile sauce really lengthened the process and wasn’t completely necessary

2. The recipe looks really long and complicated, but it isn’t

Ingredients for Red Chile Pork Tamales (makes about 20 small tamales):

22 dried corn husks
16 medium dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and each torn into large pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin, plus more for seasoning
11/2 lbs. lean boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
11/2 teaspoon salt divided, plus more for seasoning
2 cup instant corn masa
2 cup lukewarm chicken broth
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup lard (or vegetable shortening if you really have to)

Directions for red chile pork filling:

1.    Combine the chiles, garlic, pepper and cumin, 3 cups of water in a blender and blend until smooth
2.    Strain the mixture through a strainer into a medium saucepan
3.    Add the meat, 3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt
4.    Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the pork is fork-tender and the liquid is reduced to the consistency of a thick sauce, about 1 hour
5.    Use a fork to break the pork into small pieces
6.    Season with salt and pinch of cumin after shredded, let cool to room temperature

Directions for masa batter:

1.    Combine masa, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl
2.    Work in broth with your fingers, to make a soft, moist dough
3.    In a separate medium bowl, beat the lard until fluffy
4.    Beat masa mix into lard until it is a spongy consistency
5.    Let rest for one hour in the fridge

Directions for making the tamales:

1. Start by making the pork filling
2. Once pork filling is on the stove, make the masa filling
3. Reconstitute the corn husks by placing in a pot covered with water
4. Place pot on high heat and bring to a boil, turn off the heat and place a bowl over the husks to weigh them down
5. Soak for one hour
6. To assemble the tamales, unroll one or two of the dry corn husks, tear lengthwise into strips, two for each tamale
7. Put a reconstituted husk on the counter with the wide end pointing toward you
8. Place ¼ cup masa batter in the middle of the husk, spread the batter to ¼ inch thickness square
9. Place 1 tablespoon pork filling down the middle of the masa
10. Roll the tamale into a cylinder and fold both empty ends toward the middle
11. Tie both empty ends with the corn husk strips
12. Use smaller husks to line the steamer basket and cover the tamales.
13.To steam the tamales set a large pot over high heat with a steamer basket at the bottom
14. Fill the pot up to the bottom of the steamer, place some dried corn husks at the bottom of the steamer
15. Fill the pot with the tamales and cover
16. When steam escapes from under the lid, reduce the heat to medium.
17. Steam 1 hour 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
18. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes for batter to firm up.

***Serve with red chile sauce or just some hot sauce

***Be sure to wrap any uneaten tamales in foil, they dry out very fast

***To reheat, cover the tamales with a wet paper towel and nuke for three minutes

***Use any leftover filling to make some nachos, tacos or an awesome torta.

Optional red chile sauce:


15 large dried chilies (I used guajillo, California, and pasilla)
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, plus 2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoon olive oil or melted lard (don’t be scared use lard)
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar


1. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers
2. Place peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 3 minutes
3. Place pepper in a bowl and cover with water, soak for 30 minutes
4. Put peppers and 2 1/2 cups of the soaking water into a blender (save the remaining soaking water)
5. Add garlic, cumin and salt
6. Cover and blend until smooth
7. In a 2-quart sauce pan, stir flour and lard over med heat until browned
8. Slowly stir in blended chili mixture, it will bubble violently
9. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoon red wine vinegar and 2 t salt
10. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes
11. Strain the mixture before serving

Recipes came from:

Manteca instant masa mix bag

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1 Comment

Filed under Meat, Mexican, Pork, Sauce, Snack, Starch

One response to “guajillo chile pork tamales with red chile sauce

  1. this looks great. i always give credit to anyone who makes tamales!

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