Apps, Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Red Mole Pork Tamales

November 11, 2014
Homemade red mole pork tamales are an essential Mexican recipe to have at the holidays. Corn dough is wrapped around pork drenched in mole sauce.


Five years in and I think its about damn time this place had a make-over!!

I am so absolutely, unquestionably, fanatically excited to have you all here and show you around my new home…..Come on in!!

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If you click on the ‘Menu’ in the upper left you will find more about me, my social media links, and a list of all the recipes on the site. You have to click that ‘Recipe’ one, it is my favorite, so so so pretty, with pictures of every recipe and organized into meal categories—seriously, check it out. The main recipe page lists the newest examples in each category and then if you click ‘See More…..’ you will find all the recipes of that category.

Scroll down on the home page to find links to other recent recipes, see what I’ve been pinning, and all kinds of other good stuff. Really make yourself at home, feel free to snoop, I won’t be mad.

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And because I’m so happy I’ve made you tamales and not just any tamales but the most luscious pork-and-mole-filled tamales I could dream up. They have lard.

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Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner I thought it is only right to invite a few people over to help me because, let’s face it, tamales are a little involved.

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I made the pork and mole sauce a couple days before hand and then soaked the corn husks the night before the party.

Red Mole Pork

The masa was made that morning and then all we had left to do was fill and roll. Everyone brought snacks and drinks and before you know it the tamales were steaming away. This, in my opinion, is the only way to make tamales; with lots of friends, some snacks, and a margarita or two. And when its all over, everyone has tamales to take home—its a win-win situation.

Red Mole Pork Tamales

Thank you for sticking with me as I’ve made this transition to the new site and keep checking back as I’ve got loads of new stuff for the holidays coming up like, achiote turkey, a spicy chorizo stuffing, and a dairy-free pumpkin galette that is out of this world.

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Welcome Home!

I want to give a quick shout-out to designer Andrew Rench. Thank you for all your help, I couldn’t have done it without you. 


Red Mole Pork Tamales
This recipe is very involved but most of the steps can be made ahead. If you break it up into chunks it's not too bad. The pork and mole can be made up to 3 days in advance and the husks can soak overnight. Call some friends over to help you assemble; tamales taste better if they are made by those you love. A 15-Quart Tamale Steamer makes quick work of cooking the tamales. You can find them at most Mexican markets or online here. Tamales will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Reheat by placing in a frying pan with ¼ cup or so of water, cover and steam until hot.
Serves: 50 Tamales
For the Pork:
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
For the Red Mole:
  • 16 New Mexico Chiles, stem and seeds removed
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 8 unpeeled cloves garlic
  • 2-inch piece canela or cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tomatoes, cored
  • 2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
  • 1½ ounces bittersweet chocolate
To Assemble:
For the Masa:
  • 6 cups Maseca corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
  • 5-6 cups pork cooking liquid
For the Pork:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover by 2 inches with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  2. Cover and cook until meat is very tender, about 3 hours. Remove pork from liquid and strain broth into a heatproof container; reserve broth. Let meat cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces.
For the Mole:
  1. Heat a dry cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Place chiles in the skillet and toast until darkened in color and fragrant (you may need to do this in batches).
  2. Place chiles and raisins in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Place onions and garlic in the dry skillet and char, turning occasionally, until darkened on all sides, about 10-15 minutes. Add canela to the skillet and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes, remove and add pumpkin seeds. Toast until they begin to pop and darken.
  4. Finally add the tomatoes to the skillet and char on all sides until darkened and skin is cracked, about 10 minutes.
  5. After chiles and raisins have soaked, remove them from the water and place them in a blender (you might have to do a few chiles at a time depending on the strength of your blender) with a ¼ cup or so of the pork cooking liquid. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary to get the blender moving. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  6. Add onions, garlic, canela, pumpkin seeds, oregano, salt, thyme, and pepper to the blender with about ¼ cup of the pork cooking liquid. Blend, adding more liquid if necessary, until smooth. Strain into the bowl with the chile mixture.
  7. Peel the tomatoes and add to the blender. Puree until smooth. Strain into a separate bowl.
  8. Heat the lard in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once shimmering add the chile mixture (be careful, it will spurt and sputter) and stir constantly until darkened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 5-10 minutes more. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Taste and add more salt as needed. If the mole seems very thick add ¼ cup or so of the pork stock, but not too much, the sauce should coat the back of a spoon, but not be clumpy.
To Assemble:
  1. Cover the husks with hot water and let soak at least 2 hours before beginning. You may need to weigh them down to completely submerge in the water.
For the Masa:
  1. Combine Maseca, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add lard and work into the dry mixture with your hands until they are the size of small pebbles. Add cooking liquid and mix it into the flour with your hands until the dough is uniformly wet and soft. It needs to be easily spreadable but not runny, like the consistency of fluffy mashed potatoes. Add more cooking liquid if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
  2. Fill a large tamale steamer with enough water to reach the rack where the tamales will sit. If you don't have a tamale steamer you can fill the bottom of a large stock pot with water and place a wire rack in the bottom.
  3. Dry one corn husk on both sides with a clean kitchen towel. Hold the widest part of the husk closest to you and use a large soup spoon to spread about ⅓ cup of masa from about the middle to the bottom and out to the sides, leaving about ½-inch on each side (but not the bottom).
  4. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of meat in the center and top with about 1 tablespoon of sauce. Fold one clean side over the the other clean side and roll tightly to secure. Fold the pointy end up towards the top and place open-side-up on the rack of the steamer. Continue until all the masa and meat have been used.
  5. Place the steamer over medium heat and cook tamales until firm and no longer doughy in the middle, about 1-1½ hours. Remove from husks and serve with salsa, extra mole, or guacamole.

One More Thing

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  • Nicole November 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    It’s SO PRETTY around here! I love it. And I would go to a tamale party in a heart beat. They look fantastic! Your tamale party snacks look pretty on-point, too 🙂

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much Nicole! I’m pretty pumped about it—it’s been a looooooong time coming!

  • Heather Christo November 14, 2014 at 1:47 am

    1) The web-site looks absolutely stunning Kate!! I mean, it is really bright and airy and beautiful. I love how your photography is leaping off the page!

    2) I feel like you have a hotline to my soul with these tamales. Pork Mole Tamales are maybe my favorite thing ever. I have always been so intimidated by them that I found a lady that makes them, and I buy them from her. In fact, no joke, I just hired her to make them for Coco’s birthday party next week. Thank you for the recipe- now I can make them myself sometime soon 🙂

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Thank you so much Heather! That means so much coming from you! And yes, tamales aren’t really hard, just a little time consuming but if you make a huge batch and pop them in the freezer, you’ll have tamales for months!

  • Nicole November 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    congratulations! website looks great. i remember making tamales with you in calistoga. i love the idea of a tamale party. those folks in north dakota are lucky to have a place to go and warm up with friends and then take home a bag of tamales. keep on rockin’!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks Sis! Love you!