In this flavorful recipe, prepared by chef Rick Bayless, dry masa harina can be substituted for the fresh masa, if need be. For optimum taste and consistency, make the masa dough 30 to 60 minutes before preparing the tamales.

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Ingredients

For the Filling
For the Batter
For the Wrapper

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the lard, baking powder, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup masa and 1/3 cup stock; beat until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining masa and 1/3 cup stock; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. The batter should be soft but it should hold its shape in a spoon.

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  • If using fresh masa, test the batter to determine if it is adequately fluffy (this will ensure light and tender tamales): Drop 1 teaspoon batter into a cup of cold water. If it floats to the surface, it is ready.

  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Store batter in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 2 days.

  • To make the wrappers: Reconstitute the corn husks by placing them in a deep saucepan and covering them with water. Set saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil.

  • Transfer husks and water to a heatproof bowl. Set a small plate on top of husks, keeping them submerged. Soak 1 hour. Remove from water.

  • To make the filling: 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 the consistency of a thick sauce and the meat is very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Using a fork, break up the meat.

  • Return the tamale batter to the mixer. On low to medium speed, mix the batter for a few seconds to lighten the dough. Add 3 tablespoons sauce; mix again to combine.

  • You may need to add a few tablespoons or so of chicken stock. The batter should not be stiff, but slightly loose and not runny. Remember, the lighter the batter, the more tender the tamale.

  • To assemble the tamales: Unroll one large reconstituted corn husk; tear lengthwise along grain to make 1/4-inch-wide strips (two per tamale); if strips aren't long enough, tie two together.

  • Place another long piece, lightly dried, on work surface, pointed end away from you; scoop 1/4 cup batter onto middle of one end. Spread into a 4-inch square, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on pointed end and a 1-inch border on the other sides. Spoon 2 tablespoons filling down the center. Bring long sides together to form a cylinder, making sure the batter encases filling. Fold the pointed end under; tie loosely with husk strip. Fold the flat end under; tie. Repeat.

  • Reserve smaller husks to line the steamer basket and cover the tamales.

  • To steam the tamales: Set steamer over high heat. When steam puffs out, reduce the heat to medium. Steam 1 hour 15 minutes, adding more water when necessary. To check for doneness, unwrap a tamale: If ready, dough will come free from wrapper and feel soft. If dough sticks to wrapper, rewrap, and steam 15 to 20 more minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes for batter to firm up. They will remain warm for about 1 hour.

Reviews (5)

60 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 26
  • 2 star values: 14
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
02/08/2016
Great! We made the tamales with leftover pulled pork shoulder we made in our crock pot for the Super Bowl. Still used the same sauce and just heated up the pulled pork with it. We used instan Maseca so we had to prep it with the hot water (easy). Tying the tamales is easier than the directions read...just google a pic of a tied tamale and that should alleviate any frustration. We would definitely make again but maybe wet hands before laying masa on the husk (kinda stuck on our fingers).
Rating: Unrated
05/21/2011
MADE THIS RECIPE MANY TIMES . EXCELLENT AND HAVE MADE IT WITH VEGETABLE SHORTENING STILL GREAT.
Rating: Unrated
12/23/2008
Mary Enig (a fat researcher) has for years said that the "bad" fats really aren't. Traditional foods (i.e. saturated fats, meats, skins)are much better for people than denatured, chemically enhanced foods. It isn't the lard that is the problem, its the hydrogenization that's the problem. If you are eating this once a year, does it really matter if its lard?
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Rating: Unrated
11/29/2008
It has saturated fat. Get over it. This isn't a vegan site!
Rating: Unrated
11/12/2008
Martha, I love ya, however with this one.....5 oz of pork lard???? The most SATURATED fat known to man???? With all of the cardiovascular disease,