Tender pulled pork, smoky red chile sauce, rich corn masa—this traditional Mexican tamale recipe is a true labor of love; but definitely worth the effort.
Prepare the roast pulled pork and red chile sauce a day or two ahead; then host a traditional Mexican tamalada tamale-making party to gather in the kitchen, prepare food and enjoy steaming hot tamales.
In celebration and honor of Dia de Los Muertos, The Food Channel has created our take on some traditional dishes to help fuel your own celebration.
- 1 (5 to 7 lb.) pork butt or shoulder roast
- 1 tablespoon garlic and pepper seasoning blend
Red Chile Sauce
- 20 New Mexico dried chilies, seeds and stems removed
- 1/2 yellow onion, large dice
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons pork lard
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/3 cups pork lard
- 4 cups dry masa mix
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 cups chicken broth, heated
- 1 package dried corn husks
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
- 1 cup roasted red chili salsa
- 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
To prepare pulled pork
- 1 Preheat oven to 325°F. Rub garlic pepper evenly over pork, arrange in roasting pan, cover and roast for 3 hours, or until tender.
- 2 Transfer roast to a separate container; strain pan juices and reserve for sauce. Cool pork roast slightly. Trim excess fat and pull pork into 2-inch shredded pieces. Reserve.
To prepare red chile sauce
- 1 combine dried chile peppers, onion, chipotle pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt in saucepan. Combine reserved pork roast pan juices with water (as needed) to equal 3 cups. Add to saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Cool. Transfer to food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth.
- 2 Heat lard in a skillet over medium-low heat; add flour and whisk until golden. Add pureed red chile sauce to skillet; simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Combine pulled pork and red chile sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Reserve.
To prepare masa
- 1 In a mixing bowl, whip lard until fluffy. Add masa mix, baking powder, salt and chili powder; mix until just blended. Add 3 cups chicken broth and mix until smooth. Add additional chicken broth, as needed, to achieve a spreadable consistency.
To prepare corn husks
- 1 Bring a large pot of water to boiling, remove from heat, add corn husks, cover and soak for 30 minutes or until pliable. Drain husks and pat dry.
To prepare tamales
- 1 Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons masa in upper center of each corn husk (about 1/8 inch thick). Spoon 2 tablespoons filling lengthwise down the center of masa. Fold left and right sides of husk over filling (wrapping the masa around the filling) and roll closed. Fold up the bottom of husk to seal, leaving the top end open. Place, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tamales. Transfer remaining pulled pork filling to oven proof dish, cover and reserve as a topping for steamed tamales. (See step 9.)
- 2 Add water to a large pot with steamer insert. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer (making sure water is not above steamer). Arrange tamales vertically, open side up, in steamer. Cover and steam for 1½ hours. Check tamales; masa filling should easily pull away from husk when fully steamed.
- 3 While tamales are steaming, heat remaining pulled pork in preheated oven at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warm.
- 4 Serve unwrapped tamales topped with warm pulled pork filling, crumbled cheese, a drizzle of roasted red chili salsa and toasted pepitas.