This recipe comes from a woman who takes tamale making very seriously. I asked for a recipe for a small batch and she gave me this one that makes 150 tamales. It's probably best anyhow. Tamales are just too much work to make only a few and as I mentioned above, they freeze well and many people actually prefer them warmed over. This recipe includes both beef and pork. You can use one or the other if preferred. Occasionally, chicken is substituted.


  • Preparing the meat.
  • 4 pounds of lean beef ... as stew beef.
  • 2 pounds of fresh pork (leg or fresh ham)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic
  • 1 medium onion (whole)
  • Put meat and other ingredients in a large pot (or pressure cooker) with three quarts of water. Cook until the meat pulls apart easily. (About two hours). Remove from heat and drain all water. Shred the beef.
  • To make the red chili sauce:
  • 1 cup of red chili powder (This is chili colorado or sarta ... the kind you see hanging in large bunches ... it is not chiltipin or hot chili).
  • 1. Clove of garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion.
  • Combine the above in 1 and 1/2 quarts of water and boil for 30 minutes. Cool and liquify in a blender. Put aside 1/4 cup for the masa. Mix the rest in with the shredded beef.


Making the Masa ( for 150 tamales ... adjust ingredients for the number you want)

1 1/2 pounds of lard (beef)
1 1/2 vegetable shortening (as Crisco)
2 tablespoons baking powder

Stir the lard and shortening until it is soft. Add the baking powder, 1/4 cup of the red chili sauce, and some salt (your call). Stir in 4 1/2 to 5 lbs of yellow corn meal. Beat the masa (dough) until all ingredients are evenly mixed. Make a small ball and place it on top of a small amount of water in a cup. The dough ball should float. If it does not, beat the dough some more and then test it again.

The corn husks should be soaked in warm water for about two hours or until soft and pliable. Remove a husk from the water and let it drain. Lay it out on a flat surface. Place about two or three tablespoons of the masa in the middle of the husk. Flatten the massa a bit. Leave an inch or more of the husk at the sides and top for folding. Place the red beef mixture in the middle of the masa. Add one or two green olives (traditionally with seeds). Alternatively you can add a few raisins or a strip of uncooked white potato.

Roll the massa and meat up from one of the long edges and then fold the top and bottom to completely enclose the mixture.

The tamales need to be steamed. If you do not have a tamale steamer, use an appropriate sized pot with a colander inside to keep the tomales at least an inch above the boiling water. Place the tamales above the water. Put the lid on the pot and steam for about one hour or until the dough peels away from the husks easily. Serve and store in the husks.

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Submitted 6/13/05.
Source: Internet
Submitted By: Marlen