Red Chili Tamales

  • Serves

    makes 20


This recipe from Rosaura Guerrero was the hallmark of the original Rosarita brand.


  • 1 12 lb. boneless pork roast, cut into 1" cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt
  • 4 oz. dried corn husks, separated
  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 1 12 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 34 cups basic red chile sauce, warm
  • 20 canned pitted small black olives, drained


Step 1

Put pork, garlic, 8 cups water, and salt to taste into a medium pot and simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, until meat is tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Meanwhile, put husks into a large bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak until pliable, about 1 hour.

Step 2

Transfer meat to a bowl, let cool briefly, then shred, discarding any fat, and set aside. Discard all but 3 cups of the broth.

Step 3

Combine masa harina, baking powder, and 3⁄4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Add reserved warm broth and stir until a stiff dough begins to form. Beat lard in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle on medium speed until fluffy, 1 minute. Add dough and beat on medium speed until masa is smooth, 2–3 minutes.

Step 4

Drain husks and set aside 20 of the largest leaves. Place husks, concave side up, on clean surface, wide end nearest you. Spread 1⁄4 cup masa across bottom third of husk, leaving a 1⁄2" border at wide end. Spread a scant tbsp. chile sauce over masa, put an olive in center, and spread 1 1⁄2 tbsp. meat on top. Gather long sides of husk together and pinch along seam to ensure that masa encases filling. Fold husk in half crosswise. Repeat process to make 20 tamales in all. Place tamales upright, leaning them against one another, in top of a steamer. Place steamer over a pot of simmering water over medium heat, cover with a clean dish towel, and cover with a lid. Steam until masa comes away from husk easily, about 1 hour. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then unwrap and serve in the husks, moistened with remaining chile sauce.

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