How to make tamales

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Gary Mobell from Blue Bonnet shows us how.

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Christmas Pork Tamales

Makes 12 Tamales / One Dozen



1 ½ pounds masa harina

1 pound pork shoulder

8 ounces of New Mexico dry chilies

1 teaspoon cumin

3 cloves garlic

15 cornhusks

½ cup olive oil

Salsa, sour cream and guacamole

Salt and pepper to taste



Soak cornhusks in luke warm water



  1. Cook pork with a little salt and pepper in pot with boiling water. Pork is cooked once it is tender and shreds easily.
  2. Drain the pork from the water but save the pork broth for the stock.
  3. Use the pork stock to make the masa harina. Mix in the pork stock a little bit at a time with the masa harina in a separate bowl. Keep adding broth until the consistency is like that of cookie dough.
  4. Seed the dry New Mexico chilies and cook in boiling water until they become soft and hydrated.
  5. Blend the hydrated chilies with the 3 cloves of garlic until the mixture is liquefied.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the chili / garlic mixture you just blended.
  7. Add the shredded pork and cumin to the skillet.
  8. Cook the mixture until it starts to turn a nice burnt orange in color.
  9. Remove the shredded pork and put aside.


To Make Tamales

  1. Remove the cornhusks from the water. You will have 3 extra cornhusks if you are making a dozen tamales. Using the extra cornhusks cut the husks into ¼ inch strips to use as ties for the tamales.
  2. Lay 1 cornhusk out flat. Place 2 tablespoons of the masa harina in the cornhusk.
  3. Add the 2 – 3 tablespoons of the shredded pork to the husk over the masa harina.
  4. Roll the cornhusk with the ingredients inside to form a nice even rectangle.
  5. Tie the ends of the cornhusk with the ingredients inside with the extra ¼ inch strips of cornhusk.
  6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 to make one dozen tamales.
  7. If you are going to serve the tamales immediately, then proceed to step 9.
  8. The tamales are ready to freeze for later use at this point if desired.
  9. Tamales will need to be steamed for 45 minutes before serving. Use a steam basket for best results.
  10. Carefully remove the tamales from the cornhusks before serving to children, as steam will be released.
  11. Place sour cream, salsa or red enchilada sauce and guacamole on the tamales to make for a beautiful Christmas display.
  12. You may leave the cornhusks on the tamales and put the sides (salsa, sour cream and guacamole) on the plate for an interesting presentation as well. The cornhusk retains the heat and keeps the tamales hot and fresh for longer periods of time.

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