Linda's Traditional Tamales
This is my own personal recipe, developed over the years. This makes a huge batch,
enough to eat and plenty for freezing for another day.
- 1 pound dried whole red chiles*, mild or hot
- 6 pounds beef rump roast
- 6 pounds pork roast
- 6 to 12 garlic cloves
- 2 or 3 tablespoons salt
- 2/3 cup lard or Crisco®
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon cumin (comino)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chili Paste, to taste, 1 cup at a time
- 12 pounds masa**
- 1 1/4 cups lard or Crisco®
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 cup chile paste
- 3 cups meat broth, divided
- 1 pound dried corn husks
- Stuffed green olives (optional)
* The chiles are the large dried ones that you see hanging outside doors or under
ramadas in the Southwest and can be purchased at any grocery store by the bagful
(usually in the Mexican spice section) in the Southwest or packaged in the ethnic foods
section of many grocery stores elsewhere.
** Masa can be purchased at any tortilla
factory or grocery store in the Southwest or in the refrigerated section of the grocery
store in many other areas of the country.
To prepare chile paste
- Break caps off all red chiles
and shake seeds out. Soak red chiles in hot water until soft.
- Blend or process
chiles into a paste using a small amount of water in which they were soaked
to help it move in the food processor or blender.
- Put paste through a sieve
to remove the skins. Throw skins away.
- This may be made way ahead of time and
refrigerated until you make the tamales.
To prepare meat
- Use the cheapest roasts you can find!
- Try to cook the meat the day before assembling tamales,
keeping it in the refrigerator until tamale-making time.
- Cut meat into large chunks. Cover
meat with water in a very large pot.
- Add 6 to 12 garlic cloves and 2 or 3 tablespoons salt.
- Cook meat, covered, for 3 hours or until meat is tender and falling apart.
meat from juice and shred. SAVE THE MEAT BROTH.
To prepare meat sauce
- Melt 2/3 cup lard or Crisco® and
add 2/3 cup flour. Boil for 2 minutes.
- Pour over shredded meat and mix.
chili paste, one cup at a time, to taste.
- Add 1 tablespoon of cumin.
- Add salt
and pepper to taste.
- Mix meat sauce with the meat.
To mix masa
- Place 12 pounds masa (room temperature)
in a very large pan and mix with 1 1/4 cups lard or Crisco®, 2 tablespoons salt,
2 tablespoons baking powder, 1 cup chile paste and 2 cups meat broth. Mix with
- Add more meat broth (about 1 cup).
- Add more chile paste for color if
desired. Work all together with hands for about 10 minutes. The dough is ready
when a small lump floats slowly to the bottom of a glass of water.
To assemble tamales
- Soak corn husks in hot water until
soft. Using the larger husks, place each husk waxy side up (ribbed side down).
- Spread masa onto each husk out to the wide edge.
- Place a small portion of meat
in the center of masa. (You may place a stuffed green olive on the meat if you
- Roll husks and fold back, wide sides to center, then tapered flap
To steam tamales
- Set a wire rack or vegetable steamer in the bottom of a large kettle. Put
water in kettle just up to the bottom of the rack or steamer.
- Set tamales in
kettle standing on end. Pack them in, allowing room for expansion of masa as
- Steam for about 20 to 40 minutes, or until masa pulls away from corn
Recipe property of Linda Jolly - Arizona.