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Tamales Recipe

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This recipe for Tamales, by , is from Favorite Vargas Recipes, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Marcia Vargas


Pork and Red Chile:
5 to 7 lbs. pork shoulder butt
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 pkg (about 18) New Mexico red chiles
1 small white onion
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
salt & pepper

5 lbs. fresh masa - unprepared
1 lb. lard
Fat from pork broth
2 tbsp baking powder
Salt to taste (salty)
Pork broth - warm

8-oz. Pkg. Corn Husks (Hojas), Soaked in warm water and drained.

Red Chile:
Remove the stems and seeds and rinse the chiles under cold water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and remove from heat. Place the chiles in the hot water and soak til plump (about 20 minutes). Drain chiles and put in blender with 2 cloves garlic and onion. Add 1 cup of the water that you soaked the chiles in and puree until the mixture is about the consistency of cream. Strain the chile puree through a sieve.

OR use 1 large can red chile sauce.

Pork and Red Chile Filling:
Score the port with 2"-deep cuts and insert a garlic clove in each cut. In a large pot, combine the pork and a 2 tbsp. salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil; lower the heat and cook covered until the pork is tender (falls apart) - about 2 hours. Let cool and shred the pork, discarding the bones and fat. Strain the broth, refrigerate and save for the masa. (Lift off the hardened fat from the cold broth; reserve for the masa.)

Fry shredded pork in small amount of oil, add 2 cloves garlic (minced), oregano, cumin & salt. Then add chile and simmer 15-20 minutes. Filling should be fairly dry.

Combine the 1-lb lard, fat from the broth and the baking powder; beat until fluffy. Add the lard mis to the masa and combine. Beat the masa until smooth; adding broth and salt a little at a time. Masa should taste salty. Beat until a small ball of masa rises in a glass of cold water.

OR get 5 lbs. fresh masa -- prepared -- and just add a little salt and broth and beat until smooth.

Place a soaked hoja in your palm, smooth side up and wide end at the bottom of your hand. Spread a generous soup spoonful of masa in the center of the wide end and wpread evenly to cover the wide end and 1/2 way toward the pointed end. Place a heaping spoonful of pork filling in the center of the masa. Fold the sides of the hoja to overlap and fold the pointed end downward to enclose.

Place the tamales in a steamer, open side up. Steam fresh tamales for about 45 minutes. Remove from steamer and let stand about 5 minutes to "set up." Serve with hot (duck) sauce.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
5 dozen
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
1 day
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
Tamales can be frozen fresh to be steamed (cooked) later or you can steam them and then freeze them. If you are giving them as a gift, it might be wiser to cook them and then freeze them. Then they can just be warmed up in the oven or microwave.

This recipe came from Nana and I have adapted it a little over time.

Invite family and friends to help spread tamales - it is a great tradition to usher in the Christmas season!




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