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Chipotle Pork Tamales with Cilantro-Lime Crema

Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
Hands-on time 1 hr
Total time 4 hrs, 15 mins
Yield Serves 14 (serving size: 2 tamales and about 2 1/2 teaspoons crema)
For gift-giving, assemble and steam tamales. Cool and freeze, wrapped in husks, in an airtight container. Give frozen to loved ones with a note about reheating. No need to thaw: Steam briefly, just until heated, or wrap in a damp cloth and microwave.


  • Crema:
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) container light sour cream
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound) Boston butt (pork shoulder roast), trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 9 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • 6 chipotles chiles, canned in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 cup no-salt-added chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coffee
  • Masa:
  • 2 1/2 cups no-salt-added chicken stock
  • 2 ancho chiles
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 4 cups instant masa harina
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chilled lard
  • Remaining ingredient:
  • Dried corn husks

Nutrition Information

  • calories 374
  • fat 17.3 g
  • satfat 6 g
  • monofat 6.9 g
  • polyfat 1.8 g
  • protein 23.6 g
  • carbohydrate 32.5 g
  • fiber 4 g
  • cholesterol 72 mg
  • iron 3.8 mg
  • sodium 516 mg
  • calcium 120 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare crema, combine the first 6 ingredients; chill.

    John Block/Blend Images/Getty Images
  2. Preheat oven to 300°.

  3. To prepare filling, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil, and swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pork to pan; sauté 10 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Add onion and garlic to pan, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin and chipotle chiles; sauté for 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup stock and the next 3 ingredients (through coffee); bring to a boil. Return pork to pan; cover. Bake at 300° for 3 hours or until pork is fork-tender. Remove pork from pan, and let stand 10 minutes. Shred pork. Return pork to sauce.

  4. Increase the oven temperature to 450°.

  5. To prepare masa, combine 2 1/2 cups stock and ancho chiles in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until chiles are tender; cool slightly. Remove stems from chiles. Combine hot stock, chiles, and corn in a blender; process until smooth. Combine masa harina, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and baking powder, stirring well with a whisk. Cut in lard with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ancho mixture to masa mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead dough until smooth and pliable. (If dough is crumbly, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until moist.)

  6. To prepare tamales, immerse corn husks in water; weight with a plate. Soak 30 minutes; drain.

  7. Working with one husk at a time (or overlap 2 small husks), place about 3 tablespoons masa mixture in the center of husk, about 1 inch from top of husk; press dough into a 4-inch-long by 3-inch-wide rectangle. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon pork mixture down one side of dough. Using the corn husk as your guide, fold husk over tamale, being sure to cover filling with dough. Use husk to seal masa around filling. Tear 3 or 4 corn husks lengthwise into strips; tie ends of tamale with strips. Place tamale, seam side down, on the rack of a broiler pan lined with a damp towel. Repeat procedure with remaining husks, masa mixture, and pork mixture. Cover tamales with a damp towel. Pour 2 cups hot water in the bottom of a broiler pan; top with rack.

  8. Steam tamales at 450° for 25 minutes. Remove and rewet top towel, and add 1 cup water to pan. Turn tamales over; top with cloth. Bake for 20 minutes or until set. Let tamales stand 10 minutes. Serve tamales with crema.