Red Chili Pork Tamales with Mole Negra

Makes 20 tamales


For the red chili pork

10 small red dried chilies
2 cups water
1 medium tomato, chopped medium
1 medium yellow onion, chopped medium
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 pound pork butt
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

For the tamale dough

2 cups masa harina
2 cups chicken stock, reserved from poached chicken
½ cup lard
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime zest

For the mole negro sauce

2-3 dried ancho chilies
2 dried guajillo chilies
2-3 cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion
½ cup raw almonds
3 whole cloves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raisins
1 ounce dark chocolate
2 cups chicken stock


For the red chili pork

Place all ingredients (except herbs) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until pork is falling apart soft. Take off heat and cool. Discard bay leaf. Shred the pork by pulling apart the fibers using a fork or your fingers. Place shredded meat into a medium bowl and add fresh herbs. Mix and set aside.

For the tamale dough

In a large mixing bowl combine the masa harina, lime zest with 2 cups of the reserved chicken liquid, mix well. In a kitchen aid or with an electric mixer, mix the lard until fluffy or about five minutes. A little at a time mix the lard into the masa harina until full incorporated. Mix in the baking powder and the salt and mix well. The dough is ready (well mixed) when a small piece of the dough floats in a glass of cold water.

For the wrappers

For corn husk wrappers, place the corn husks in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, take out and cool slightly before handling. For the banana leaf wrappers, pass the banana leaf over the gas stove until soft and pliable, about 1-2 minutes.

For the mole negro sauce

Preheat oven to 425ËšF.On a large sheet tray combine, chilies, garlic, onion, almonds, cloves, peppercorns, coriander, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds and place in oven and char all items. Place all charred items in a medium saucepan and combine raisins and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes or until all items are soft. Take off heat and cool. Place in blender and blend until smooth.

For assembling the tamales

In the center of each banana leaf or corn husk, place about 3-4 tablespoons of masa harina mixture. Flatten with a spoon leaving about 1 inch around each border of either the banana leaf or corn husk. Atop that place about 2 tablespoons meat mixture. Fold over the banana leaf or corn husk like you are folding a present. Tying the wrapped package with either corn husk ties or banana leaf ties, or kitchen twine.

Place the wrapped tamales in a steamer and cover the top of the tamales with a kitchen towel (to prevent drips form making tamales soggy). Steam tamales on medium heat for about 45-60 minutes or until soft and cooked through. Serve with sauce.