How to Make Tamales – 2 different fillings – red pork, green chicken


Hi, I’m Ashlee Marie. One of my favorite traditional meals to make at the holidays is homemade tamales. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any of our other holiday foods. Let’s get started. A little-known fact about me is that my grandma grew up in Mexico, so as a family we actually make a lot of traditional Mexican foods – they are definitely a favorite of ours. And this tamale recipe is actually something that we make every year. My brother-in-law, me, and my sister, and our parents, when they’re in town, so it’s definitely a favorite. I’m going to share with you two different fillings that we make, and then the tamale recipe itself, and how we put it together. Now we do it assembly line. This is not a hard thing to do but it’s definitely time consuming, and so more hands less work. This is a great thing to do as a family. Then you can all take a bunch home and enjoy it fresh or enjoy it later. To get started with our red pork filling. You want about 20 to 30 dried peppers, you want to de-stem, and then deseed all of these. Then add them to some water. Once you have them all in water, you want to put something down on top of it to hold them down into the water, and then we’re going to let them soak until they’re nice and soft. It’s been a couple hours and our chilies are all soaked and super-soft. Now you want to do is pull them out and drain the water out of them a little bit, and put them inside your blender. You want to make sure that you maintain this chili water, you might use it a little bit later with the sauce. Now you want to add a medium onion, I just cut it into like eight so it’ll blend a little bit easier, six cloves of garlic’s that have the bottoms cut off and are smashed, then four sprigs of thyme, about a-half a teaspoon of salt. If it’s getting too thick and it’s not grinding up very well, you could take some of the juice that we soaked the peppers in and pour some in, just not too much. Now it’s nice and thick. So here we have three pounds of boneless pork shoulder, and we’re going to trim off the extra fat. We’re going to cut it into three-inch cubes, and then put all of the chunks into plastic bag. Then pour this over our pork. Knead your pork into your marinate, and marinate for at least three hours. It is all done. Now we’re going to just throw it in the crock-pot. One of the other ingredients in this filling is some toasted bay leaves. You just turn a pan onto high, and add the dried bay leaves to that, and after they start to brown, flip them over, and they are done. Now I usually cook this mixture for eight hours. I usually just do it night before we’re going to make tamales, and then shred it in the morning, and then just let them cool. They don’t have to be warm to put into the tamales. The pork is done, and before we shred it we actually want to make sure we pull out all four of those bay leaves. They should just fall apart. Just use two forks, unless you own one of those meat puller apart things. Those things are awesome but I just used two forks. Now for the chicken filling, we’re going to cook the chicken, and then shred it, and then to mix it in with the sauce. So there’s a lot of different ways you can cook chicken. You can boil it, which is my least preferred method – something about it just kind of turns me off. You can sauté it, or you can bake it. Those are the two that I always go with. Lately I’ve been on a baking kick, so that’s we’re going to choose today. Baking your chicken is super simple. First thing you want to do is put it on a pan, and drizzle it with some olive oil, and then we’re going to add any seasonings that you want. I’m just going to salt and pepper, and then you want to flip it over, and do the other side. We’re going to bake it at 400 for about 20 minutes, and then bring it down to 350 for any remaining time. I like to use meat thermometer to make sure that I don’t overcook it. While the chicken is cooking we’re going to prepare the rest of the filling. I have all of these tomatillos, and they have this outer skin on them. What you want to do is unwrap the outer skin. I twisted off to get the top off. You want to do that for about two-and-a-half pounds. Now this outer skin gets sticky and tacky, and if you touch your eyes with it they could burn, so make sure that you wash your hands afterwards. If you’re super sensitive to stuff like that, which I’m not, but if you are you can, of course, wear gloves. Once you have them peeled, what we want to do next is cut them in half through the center. We’re going to place them on a baking tray, and we’re going to put them in the oven and broil them. That’s how you roast tomatillos. Flip them over and broil both sides so they got roasted everywhere. Now it’s time to toss them into our blender. Then I usually roast my own peppers, but I happened to have a can of roasted peppers in my fridge, so I just used that. I have some garlic that I’ve skinned and crushed. Then I have a bunch of cilantro. Then small handful of salt – probably about a teaspoon. Blend it all together. Stir it together with your shredded chicken breast. This is ready to be filling. Oh, this is so good. Now we’re going to make the masa, and this is the dough that holds the filling in, and it’s the best part is made out of corn. You can buy it in most of your local grocery stores. You might have to go to a specialty store if you live someplace where maybe they don’t have a lot of Mexican food options. So we’re going to start with 2 cups of the masa flour, we’re going to add some salt, and some baking powder, and then we’re going to stir it. We’re just using our hand for this one. If you have an aversion to using your hands, you’re going to struggle with this, because it really is all about the texture to get the dough perfect. We’re going to add our chicken broth and mix it in. One of the things you want to do before you start this – before you get hands all in here and dirty, is you want to take the lard that you’re using and whip it up really good – you don’t just want to measure the lard out from the block that you buy it in, you want to whip it so it’s light and fluffy. I just used my electric beaters and beat it up. You can see how nice, and soft and pretty that looks. Now we’re going to add that whipped lard. The recipe calls for two-third, so I’ve measured that out, but I’m actually going to start with about half of it. Mix it in and then we’re just going to add little by little until the texture is right. That’s what I meant by you need to use your hands in this, it really comes down to the texture. Too little and it’s going to be a little bit too dry, and it’s going to crack. Too much, and it’s going to be a little bit difficult to flatten out, and work with, and to make your tamales. This is usually my sister’s job, but she doesn’t want to be in the video with me. Because she’s lame. You really want the texture to be more like a play dough. That’s when you’re going to feel kind a like grainy play dough. The reason you want to go slow, as you’re adding the lard, is that if you are over add and you need to dry it out a little bit more, if you add any of the masa later, it will actually end up much grainier. This is nice and smooth. Great way to test it is to take some, make your ball, to kind of feel how it balls up, and then flatten it out and see how it flattens. If it’s cracking, it’s little bit too dry. If it’s a little bit too sticky, it might be a little bit too wet. This feels right. Hopefully you can see that amazing texture. You want to get a paper towel and get it wet and then ring it up. You keep that over the dough to keep it from drying out, so that the texture is not changing as you work all of your dough balls, and flatten them, and everything else. To get your corn husks pliable, so you can use them and wrap up your tamales, you want to put them in a big bowl of water and leave them there for good 15-20 minutes. Put something heavy on top to hold them down so they stay way down. You want to take a nice clean towel and dry off your corn husk, that you can see now, we can fold it, and it’s nice, and pliable. We’re going to take our dough ball that we’ve rolled, and this is a tortilla press that I like to use. This is the plastic bag, that I always say about three or four years old, that we use every year for making this. There’s something about them – aging, and being used, and folded. It just works out better. If you’re working with a new one, you might take a couple tries to not have all of this stick together. Put your ball in the center of the press, slid over. Now a lot of people just are going to go straight down with your tortilla press, but we like to kind of do this a little bit, and then turn it. Because you can see this side is much thinner than this side, and so if you want it nice and even, I do a three-point turn here, and then press. Now it’s nice, and flat, and the perfect thickness. Take your corn husk and put it over your flatten masa, flip it inside and peal it away. Here we go. Now I have the perfect little medium to add my filling. I’m going to say that’s like two-and-a-half tablespoons. Alright, so we’re going to flip it over on one side, and flip it over the other side, just kind of press it together using the corn husks – not your fingers, and then pinch the bottom together – pinch, pinch, pinch. Then I wrap the husk, pull the bottom. They come down inside here. Press that down, and then pinch that together too. Then just repeat over, and over, and over, and over again. Now what we usually do is my mom dries off the husks, my sister makes the balls, I flatten it out, and my brother- in-law fills it and wraps it. It actually doesn’t take too much time at all. It’s definitely works better with more people. Alright, so now that you’ve had your tamales all made, it’s time to put them in your pot. Now this is an official tamale pot that I borrowed from my brother-in-law. I don’t actually have them myself. I just use a steamer to a little bit of water in the bottom. You don’t want your tamales to touch the water, so that’s what you want to use a steamer basket or something like that. You want to make sure that as you fill them up – you build it kind of log style. You don’t want to put them this way like they might be in the pictures – all snug together. It will take way too long to cook that way. So by doing it this way – by stacking them off skilter, like you’re building a log cabin, you’ll get a nice even cook. It will cook a lot faster, and you’ll be much happier with the results. You can even fill this all the way to the top with just a nice little hole in the center. Now because this is official pot it has a little hole right here. What that does, that helps the steam escape. If you don’t have an official tamale pot, like I don’t, what I usually do with my own pot, is I get a clean wrap, get it all damp – I just want my hands bunch of times to dampen it up, and then I covered over the pot so that the steam is mostly trapped inside but it’s a little bit still escaping, so you don’t make it too moist. It’s finished. I hope that you can see how much fun this is to make, seriously. It is so delicious. But, like I said, it is very time consuming. There’s a reason that we only do this once or twice a year. I’m trying to convince my brother-in-law that we need to have a Christmas in June, and have a whole another tamale session in the summer as well, just because they are so, so good. So we always pair our tamales with my grandmother’s refried bean recipe, and there’ll be a link to that down below. Another one of our favorite things to do is to serve the green with my homemade pickled creamy jalapeno dip. The recipe is also on the blog, and it’s totally worth it. As you can see we have a nice even coating of the masa, and we have a lot of this great filling. It’s nice and moist. The texture is perfect. Let’s give it a try. Now the red pork is a really nice recipe, have some nice flavors. It’s not too spicy, although. When you’re putting it all together you’re going to think, “Oh this is going to be so spicy.” It’s really not. It’s actually quite mild. This is one of those recipes that I’m actually constantly changing. It’s still not perfect in my mind. So if any of you have a great red pork tamale filling recipe, please let me know. I would love to tweak this and just get it to perfection, because the chicken is perfection. Ah! So good. Look how amazing that looks. So this green chicken is perfect. In fact a lot of years we don’t even bother with the red pork filling, and we just go straight the green and chicken. Ah! The tomatillos, it’s – ah, um. They’re good. Now you can eat tamale, bean, tamale, bean. One of my favorite things is to do is actually take your bite of tamale and get a big bunch of the beans with it – It’s hot. That’s a big bite. I think if I was dying this will be my final meal. In the comment box down below, let me know what your favorite family traditional meal is, something that you grew up with or maybe something that you’ve developed as an adult but it’s just become a family favorite that you just couldn’t go the year without making, at least, once. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss anything coming up. We’re about to start a whole new year, and I would love to hear what more cakes and recipes you want to see here on this channel. Happy holidays. Happy New Year. Thanks for watching. You know I can always put this in the end of my video.

22 comments on “How to Make Tamales – 2 different fillings – red pork, green chicken”

  1. Alma Afu says:

    amazing. Is your grandma from Colonia Juarez Chihuahua? if so, my father is from there. if not, that is amazing still. ☺

  2. Rachel Sweets says:

    More Mexican food and desserts beautiful

  3. Rachel Sweets says:

    Merry Christmas 😙😙

  4. Kristina says:

    mmmmm i love homemade tamales, my favorite part is the masa. i usually put a little of the chile sauce in the masa as well.

  5. Much Love N Hugz says:

    I love this recipe I am very impressed!!!

  6. raymond Alex says:

    Great demonstration, I am watching my weight. What can I substitute lard with?

  7. Jaqueline Martinez says:

    guatemalan tamales are much more complicated 😶

  8. Kristina says:

    I just found your channel 2 days ago. My niece bought some tamales for today and when I got to her house they were still frozen. She didn't have a steamer so we steamed them with the dish towel trick and it worked perfectly! Thank you.

  9. Kristina says:

    FYI, a lobster steamer works great as a tamale steamer.

  10. vz8d Vero says:

    I certainly love your recipes but now I love them even more, I'm Mexican so 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👍👍👍👍👍thanks for the recipe 😉

  11. Juan Carlos Rosendo Amaya Cruz says:

    well done

  12. Rob B says:

    The red pork looks great but I don't know about the green chicken. lol
    I hate the taste of cilantro so that's a no go. ha ha

  13. Amy montes says:

    try adding a few tomatillos and about 5 seeded red peppers, along with 1/3 cup of cilantro to your red marinade. it will make a world of difference. I personally love the red, just because it has a little kick to it.
    keep up the good work. And LOVE the hair.
    Amy
    [email protected]

  14. My Fussy Eater (Ciara Attwell) says:

    These look so good. I've never tried Tamales before but I really want to now!

  15. Jaqueline Martinez says:

    the masa is boiled with lard and water you let it cool and the recado has tomatoes, tomatillo, bell peppers, guajillo but we call it "guaque", pasilla we call it "pasa" and ground toasted sesame seeds with pumpkin seeds then you boil it with some more lard. once you have the masa and the recado wich is the sauce. the fillings are chicken, pork, hen or duck any meat that you like raw, a slice of bell pepper, green olives, capers, chick peas, 2 raisins and 1 dried prune you can also add loroco it's a flower with strong flavor. I don't like them with raisin or prunes😉 I hope you will understand me because. I live in Guate, I am a Chapina but I love your channel

  16. cecillepike says:

    Good morning Ashlee Marie
    Thank you so much for this tutorial, I have made tamales in the past but the process was crazy. You made this look so easy. I did have one question, what is the name of the pot you used ? I don't have one and would like to purchase one asap. Oh and could you do Mexican desserts as well?

  17. Rebecca Murray says:

    lol we cheat and buy our masa

  18. Lindsey Johnson says:

    Ash, I love this! I was thinking I would just whip some tamales together tonight. Ha! I had no idea it would be so involved! I have to say that your trick of using a tortilla press is the best I've seen yet. So brill! Can't wait to try your recipes for the filling too. I guess I need to go buy some lard too. I admit I was going to use shortening, but you convinced me! Keep the Mexican recipes coming!

  19. thescramble says:

    Wow, these look amazing, and I love tamales!

  20. Aubrey Cooper says:

    i was drooling the whole time you we're eating these, a tradition in my family is at christmas time when my mom was alive was making nut rolls they are a homemade dough, with a walnut filling, it is a czechoslovakian recipe handed down from my mother's mother, and they are so delicious, but like your tamales are very time consuming to make, me and my sister and her husband made them this year for christmas and it was so worth it

  21. AK GANG says:

    You know for the red meat it’s just a suggestion… what about barbecue sauce

  22. Aubrey Cooper says:

    how many tamales will this make

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