5 lbs. lean pork or beef, or a combination, cut in 3 inch cubes

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. salt

1 c. canola oil

1 c. all purpose flour

3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce

2 (10 oz.) cans red chile sauce

1 tsp. salt

1½ lbs. dried corn husks, soaked in water overnight

1½ lbs. lard (traditional) or vegetable shortening

5 lbs. fresh ground masa (NOT masa harina or pre-made masa mix)

1 c. broth from beef and pork mixture (or low sodium beef broth)

5 tsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. salt


For meat: Cook meat, garlic and salt in a slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours on high. Place in refrigerator and chill. Remove meat from refrigerator and remove solidified fat from top. Drain off liquid, reserving one cup to use in masa. Shred meat with a fork.

For sauce: Lightly brown flour in oil in a stockpot over medium high heat. Stir in tomato sauce, red chile sauce and salt, cook until thickened. Cool to room temperature before using. Stir sauce into meat.

For tamale masa: Beat lard or shortening with a stand mixer to the consistency of whipped cream (takes about 15 minutes on highest setting). Add masa a little at a time in small, golfball sized pieces. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over masa and mix well while adding more masa. Slowly add beef broth into whipped lard and masa mixture. Continue whipping the mixture until a small spoonful of masa floats in cold water.

Assembly and cooking: Fill a large stock pot that has a steamer insert, with a small amount of water. The water should not touch the bottom of the insert. Set aside. Spread 1/4 to 1/3 cup masa on slightly damp corn husks, slightly more than 1/4″ inch thick. Spread a rectangle that covers husks except 2” at the bottom and 1” at top. Place about 2 Tbsp. of filling in center and add one ripe black olive. Roll together so that masa completely encircles filling and close husk like an envelope, folding bottom end up. Can wrap in parchment paper to secure better, if desired. Place tamales upright, with folded side down, in steamer insert. Bring water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or longer. Check them after 45 minutes.

Tamales can be made ahead and frozen. Steam for 90 minutes if frozen.

TRADITIONAL TAMALES originally posted on by Elegant Island Living magazine.

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