Pork and Ancho Chile Tamales with Mexican Red Sauce

Pork and Ancho Chile Tamales with Mexican Red Sauce
Who says dinner party food can’t be low-calorie? For ease, make the pork mixture for these tamales a day or two ahead. The recipe makes quite a few servings; serve with Spanish saffron-flavored rice for a fun evening with friends.


  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1 ancho chile, stemmed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 1/2 cups Basic Masa Dough
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 1/4 cups Mexican hot-style tomato sauce
  • Lime wedges (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine broth, cherries, and ancho chile in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until cherries and ancho are tender.
  3. Combine broth mixture, onion, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender; process until mixture is smooth.
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup broth mixture; cover and chill.
  5. Place remaining broth mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.
  6. Remove pork from bag, and discard marinade. Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink).
  7. Let pork stand 20 minutes; shred pork with 2 forks.
  8. Toss shredded pork with reserved 1/2 cup broth mixture.
  9. Place corn husks in a large bowl; cover with water. Weight husks down with a can; soak 30 minutes. Drain husks.

Assemble Tamales


  1. Working with one husk at a time, place about 3 tablespoons Basic Masa Dough in the center of husk, about 1/2 inch from top of husk; press dough into a 4-inch-long by 3-inch-wide rectangle.
  2. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon pork mixture down one side of dough.
  3. Using the corn husk as your guide, fold husk over tamale, being sure to cover filling with dough.
  4. Fold over 1 more time.
  5. Fold bottom end of husk under.
  6. Place tamale, seam side down, on the rack of a broiler pan lined with a damp towel.
  7. Repeat procedure with remaining husks, Basic Masa Dough, and filling.
  8. Cover filled tamales with another damp towel.
  9. Pour 2 cups hot water in the bottom of a broiler pan; top with prepared rack.
  10. Steam tamales at 450° for 55 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a depth of about 1/2 inch.
  11. Let tamales stand 10 minutes.
  12. Serve with sauce and lime wedges, if desired.

Basic Masa Dough


  • 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 ancho chiles
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 3 3/4 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chilled lard


  1. Combine chicken broth and ancho chiles in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until chiles are tender; cool slightly, Combine broth mixture and corn in a blender; process until smooth.
  3. Lightly spoon masa harina into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
  4. Combine masa harina, salt, and baking powder, stirring well with a whisk.
  5. Cut in lard with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  6. Add broth mixture to masa mixture; stir until a soft dough forms.
  7. Cover and chill until ready to use.

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