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Tamales de Res

This authentic red pork tamales recipe comes from Jalisco, Mexico. The tamales are filled with pork shoulder and a spicy tomato sauce.



  • 1 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed

  • ½ onion

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • salt to taste

  • water to cover

  • corn husks


  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes

  • 4 dried chile de arbol peppers

  • 4 small guajillo chile peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 1 ¼ cups lard

  • 4 ½ cups fresh corn masa dough

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder



  1. Cut pork into 3 chunks and place in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil; skim foam from surface. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove pork and let cool. Strain broth and reserve.

  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil while pork is cooking. Add tomatoes, arbol chiles, and guajillo chiles, and boil until chiles are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking water, and allow to cool.

  3. Place corn husks in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain, place on a work surface, and cover with a clean, damp towel.

  4. Combine tomatoes, 1/2 cup cooking water, chiles de arbol, guajillo chiles, and cornstarch in a blender; blend until smooth. Strain tomato sauce through a fine-mesh sieve.

  5. Beat lard with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy. Combine masa, 1 cup reserved pork broth, 1 tablespoon salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl and mix until smooth. Add masa mixture to lard and mix until it has a smooth cookie dough consistency. Test if the masa is ready by dropping a small ball of masa into a glass of cold water; if it floats, it's ready, if not, keep beating for a little longer.

  6. Shred cooled pork with 2 forks.

  7. Select 1 wide corn husk or 2 small ones. Spread about 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the the corn husk, filling it up to 2 inches from the bottom and 1/4 inch from the top. Add 1 tablespoon of the tomato sauce and pork down the center of the masa mixture. Fold sides of husk together, 1 over the other. Fold the bottom of the husk over the seam of the 2 folded sides. Repeat with remaining husks.

  8. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add tamales with the open side up and cook until filling is heated through and separates from the husk, about 1 hour. Let tamales rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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