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finished red chile tamale

Texas red chile tamales

  • Author: Recipe by Monica LeRoy
  • Yield: 6 dozen 1x



9 dried California peppers

3 dried New Mexico Peppers

1 1/4 quarts water

3 Tablespoons Flour

3 Tablespoons Oil

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon oregano

salt to taste

1 ¾ cups Crisco or Lard

6 lbs unprepared masa

1 cup juice from cooked meats OR chile water

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 lbs corn husks


  1. To make the chile sauce: de-seed the dried chiles, then boil them in the water for 15-20 minutes until very soft.
  2. Working a small batch at a time, blitz the chiles in a blender with some of the cooking liquid, and the transfer to a strainer, and push through the mesh with a wooden spoon. Return any amount left in the strainer to the blender, then repeat process until you’ve used up all the chiles and cooking water. You will have a small amount of mixture at the end that will not work through the strainer, and this can be discarded.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan, then fry garlic cloves until brown. Then remove and discard.
  4. Add the flour to the oil ,stirring quickly stirring to avoid burning. Gradually add the chili mixture, salt, oregano and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Once cooled, add to shredded meat and combine. Your tamale filing is now done!
  6. To make the masa: using an electric hand or stand mixer, whip the Crisco or lard to the consistency of whipped cream.
  7. You may need to do this next step batches at a time depending on how large your bowl is. Once whipped, mix in the masa, salt and baking powder.
  8. Beat again until light and fluffy. You can test when this is ready by dropping a small amount into a cup of water. When it floats, it’s ready! If your masa is still too dry to spread easily, just add a little more water.
  9. To make Tamal: Rinse and soften the corn husks using a warm water bath. Remove all the silk and other dust, rinse and drain dry.
  10. Take a clean corn husk and lay it flat with the smooth side facing up. (There are two sides to a husk, one has deeper ‘veins’, the other has a smoother feel).
  11. Spread the masa all thinly over the wider part of the husk, covering 2/3 of the husk in total (ie, leaving narrow end bare).
  12. Spoon two tablespoons of filling into the centre, and fold the corn husk over the filling, then tuck under the loose narrow ends of the husk to make a jacket and prevent leakage.
  13. Steam the tamales over boiling water for 1 hour if fresh and 2 hours if tamales are frozen.