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Making tamales at home

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Tamales are a holiday tradition for some families. Eugenio Alvarez, from Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina, joined our Keri Bellacosa in the Good Day kitchen to show us how to make homemade tamales.

Tamale recipe


  • 4 lbs. masa blanca (white corn)
  • 1 ½ lbs. shorting or lard for more flavor
  • 1 ½ lbs. boiled potatoes mashed
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 tsp. of chicken base
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  •  2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup of salt
  • 40 dried corn husks (soak in water and set aside for later)


  1. Put milk, chicken stock, onions, chicken base, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic and bay leaves in blender.  Blend on high for 2 minutes.
  2. In separate large container, combine the masa, mashed potatoes  the pork lard and knead by hand, then add the mixture from the blender slowly, pouring a little in the masa,  then mixing by hand, pouring a little more, then mixing by hand.  Do this until the masa and the spices are blended very well.  Set aside this mixture in the refrigerator.
  3. Ingredients for Pork Tamale filling:
  4. Cook a 4 lb. pork roast in your favorite way (crock-pot, roasting, stewing).
  5. Cool the meat, and then pull the meat into small pieces.  Put aside in the refrigerator.

Ingredients for Authentic Pork Sauce:

  • 4 cups of boiled tomatoes
  • 2 cups of canned of mild chiles
  • 2 tbsp. of Guajillo pepper paste
  • 2 tbsp. of Chipotle pepper paste
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 4 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt


  1. Bring water to a rolling boil and add tomatoes for 10 minutes.
  2. Add all pastes and both kinds of tomatoes to a large stock pot and blend together.
  3. In separate pan, sauté onion and garlic in oil until onion is translucent.
  4. Add stock and paste blend to onion and garlic.
  5. Place over medium flame, add salt, pepper and cumin.
  6. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  7. Strain mixture through a china cap.
  8. Add ¾ of the mixture to pulled pork and blend well. Set aside the other ¼ part of sauce to put on tamales before serving.

To make tamales:

  1. Spread the masa thinly on a corn husk, spreading from the bottom of the husk to one inch from the top. 
  2. Put 2 ounces of pork in middle of the husk. 
  3. Fold the bottom ½ inch of husk up, then fold each side over. 
  4. Put a dab of masa on the open end of the tamale, and lay in steam pan.
  5. After you have a full steam pan of tamales, steam in oven or on the stove for 40 minutes.  Serve the tamales with the sauce on the side, or unwrap tamales and pour sauce on top with cheese and put under the broiler for a few minutes.
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