Aunt Chilada's Yucatan-Style Pork Tamales

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  • 1 pound lean pork
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ancho chiles, seeds and membranes removed
  • 8 guajillos chiles, seeds and membranes removed
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 pound masa
  • 5 tablespoons lard
  • 1 large banana leaf


  1. In a large saucepan, cover the pork with water and add 1 garlic clove, 1 onion quarter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until pork is tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
  2. Shred meat, reserving the stock.
  3. Toast the chiles and place in a bowl, cover with warm water and soak for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, roast the tomatoes, peel and puree in a blender.
  5. Roast the other onion quarter, 2 cloves garlic, marjoram, peppercorns and cloves.
  6. Drain the chiles and transfer to a blender.
  7. Add the roasted onion, garlic, marjoram, peppercorns, cloves and 1 cup of the reserved stock, then puree until smooth.
  8. Melt 1 tablespoon lard in a skillet and sauté the chile puree for 5 minutes.
  9. Add the pureed tomatoes and saute for another 5 minutes; add the pork, stir and cover. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. Hold banana leaf directly over the heat for 5 seconds.
  11. Cut into 5-inch squares.
  12. Knead masa with 2 tablespoons lard for 5 minutes.
  13. Grease one side of the banana leaf. Place a 3-inch square of masa on the lard and top with 1 1/2 tablespoons of pork mixture. Fold opposite edges of leaf towards the center and do the same with other edges to form a closed rectangle. Use strips of leaf to tie and secure.
  14. To cook, steam for about 20 minutes.

Source: Chef Jessie Gonzales, Aunt Chilada's - Phoenix, Arizona