Making real tamales with anything but good, fresh lard is like making duck confit or pork rillettes with, say, vegetable oil. It can certainly be done, but at a flavorful sacrifice. Two-thirds of a cup is used in the base tamale batter.

Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1998


Recipe Summary

Makes 12


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Reconstitute the corn husks.

  • In the jar of a blender, combine chiles, garlic, pepper, and cumin. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and blend until a smooth puree forms.

  • Strain mixture into a medium saucepan. Add the pork, 1 3/4 cups water, and salt. Place over medium heat; cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has reduced to consistency of a thick sauce and meat is very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Using a fork, break up the meat.

  • Place the classic tamale batter in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons sauce; combine.

  • Assemble twelve tamales with the batter and the pork filling, using large husks for wrappers and ties, and reserving smaller ones to line basket and cover the tamales.

  • Prepare the steamer, and steam the tamales. Let stand until batter has firmed. Serve tamales with the salsa.