Pork tamales are filled with tender pieces of pork simmered in a delicious red chile sauce. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to make your own Mexican tamales right at home!
The only kind of tamales I had ever eaten was Lynn Wilson frozen tamales. I loved them when I was a kid and so we had to see if we could make some delicious homemade tamales!
A few weeks ago, we decided to try it. I always get nervous trying something that is not usually in my playbook. You will be surprised how simple and easy this will be to make. The filling is so tender it will make your mouth water!
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
salt, to taste
1 onion, quartered
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
2 bay leaves
24 dried corn husks
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/3 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups masa harina (instant corn flour)
1 1/3 cups shortening
- Make the filling: Put the pork into a large pot and cover with cold water (about 6 cups). Add 2 teaspoons salt, onion, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and peppercorns; cover and bring to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Cook until the pork is tender, 2 hours or a little longer.
- Transfer the pork to a plate and shred. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid.
- In the meantime, soak the corn husks in a bowl of hot water, using a plate to keep them submerged, until pliable, about an hour.
- Combine the pork, cumin, 1/3 cup chili powder, garlic, flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid in a large skillet.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
- Now to make the dough; Mix the masa harina, shortening, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and 2 2/3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid in a bowl until well combined.
- Drain the husks and pat dry. Starting 1/2 inch from the wide end, spread about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the dough down a husk, leaving a 1-inch border on the sides. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of the pork filling down the center of the dough, then fold in the sides of the husk, wrapping the dough around the filling. Fold up the narrow end of the husk. Tie ends with strips of corn husks. Repeat with the remaining husks, dough, and filling.
- Set a steamer basket in a large pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of water. Arrange the tamales laying seam down. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and steam on medium-low heat, until the dough is firm. 50 to 70 minutes. You will be able to handle the tamale without it falling apart. Remove from the steamer and let cool slightly before unwrapping.