Carnitas Tamales



  • 1 pound Carnitas (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1 2/3 cups warm chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups soft butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons roasted anise seeds
  • 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 12 to 16 large dried corn husks, soaked in hot water until pliable
  • 2 cups Manchamantel Sauce

Manchamantel Sauce

  • 1/2 pound whole dried ancho chiles
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) water
  • 1/2 pound Roma tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, roasted and peeled
  • 1 3/4 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 pound ripe bananas
  • 1 large green apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Cayenne (optional)


  • 2 pounds pork butt with fat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons chile Caribe
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 stick canela (or cinnamon)
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano


  1. Make the Carnitas, shredding meat by hand.
  2. Tamales: Mix the Masa Harina and stock with whisk In a large bowl, whisk the butter, baking powder, salt, anise, cayenne, and paprika until very light and fluffy. Blend in the masa in 1/4 cup scoops and continue beating after each. You want this to be very fluffy and light. Test by taking a teaspoonful and dropping into a glass of water. It should float. If it falls to the bottom, keep on beating. Divide the masa and Carnitas filling evenly between the corn husks, roll and tie tamales. Then steam for 30 minutes. Serve with Manchamantel sauce.
  3. Manchamantel Sauce: Remove stems and seeds from chiles. Dry roast the chiles in oven at 250 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow then to blacken or they become dreadfully bitter! Put the dry roasted chiles in a pan, cover with water and simmer very slowly for 30 to 40 minutes to allow them to dehydrate. Cool.
  4. Blacken tomatoes under broiler for 4 or 5 minutes. Put chiles, tomatoes, and the remaining ingredients in food processor and puree. Add a little liquid if needed. Use the chile water IF it's not bitter. Add the oil to a high sided pot and heat until almost smoking. Refry the sauce and sizzle for 4 to 5 minutes stirring constantly.
  5. Carnitas: Place pork, water, chile Caribe, salt, garlic, and onion in a heavy pot. Bring to a slow simmer Roast spices and oregano in a dry saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, you know when you start sneezing! Add this to the pork and simmer on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tender.
  6. Increase the heat until all liquid is gone. Reduce heat a little and continue cooking and stirring until the cubes of meat are a rich mahogany brown.
  7. Let the Carnitas cool.

Yield: 12 to 18 tamales

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