New Mexico Pork Tamales

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New Mexico Pork Tamales
Category: Pork recipes
Servings: 24
Time: prep: 2 hours
cooking: 2 hours
Difficulty: Difficult
| Meat

New Mexico Pork Tamales are a classic Southwestern United States meal, made from pork and chicken. This version adds cumin, chili powder and garlic powder to outer masa flour of the tamale.


Meat filling

  • 1 cup shredded cooked pork
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 (15 ounce - ~400g) can beanless chili con carne
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 (8 ounce - 230g) package of corn husks (contains about 100 husks)

Masa mixture

  • 2 pounds (900g) Masa flour
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups solid vegetable shortening
  • 8 cups warm chicken stock (or 8 cups water and 8 chicken bullion cubes)


Meat filling

  1. Stir ingredients together and refrigerate until needed.


  1. Soak corn husks in warm water for at least two hours. A dinner plate may have to be used to hold corn husks under water.

Masa mixture

  1. Mix dry Masa flour with paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and salt. Mix well for even distribution of spices.
  2. Cut shortening into the Masa mixture with a pastry cutter. Mix until mixture resembles the texture of tiny peas.
  3. Slowly add chicken broth one cup at a time. Mix well with electric mixer. Mixture should resemble consistency of peanut butter.
  4. Continue mixing with electric mixer to incorporate air into batter. Mixture is ready to use when 1 teaspoon of batter floats on water.

Filling and cooking tamales

  1. Use one corn husk per tamale. Lay flat on table. The corn husk is roughly rectangle shaped.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup of Masa mixture on entire upward facing corn husk, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) gap along the long edge and narrow end of the corn husk.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon of meat mixture, in a narrow band in the middle, down the length of the masa spread corn husk.
  4. Roll/fold the husk along the wide edge, touching the edges of the masa together, with the meat mixture ending up in the middle of the masa. The part of the husk with the 1 inch gap with no masa should be rolled around the outside of the husk.
  5. Fold about 1 inch of end of rolled husk, upward along the body of the husk. (The narrow end with 1 inch masa gap). You should end up with something resembling a cornucopia, with one end folded over and one end open.
  6. Stand all of the rolled tamales on end in a steaming colander with the open end of the tamale facing upward.
  7. Steam the tamales over boiling water for 2 hours. Place a lid over the steaming colander. Keep the tamales above the boiling water, don't allow them to stand in it.
  8. At the end of the cooking period, open one tamale and make sure the masa is cooked and not doughy.
  9. Allow tamales to rest 30 minutes after cooking, before serving. This will help to keep the masa from sticking to the corn husk.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Makes about 50 to 75 tamales.
  • Left over tamales may be frozen in zip lock bags.
  • Reheat frozen tamales in a microwave. If you reheat by steaming, they may become soggy.

Also see Tamales