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Pork and Ancho Chile Tamales with Mexican Red Sauce

Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro
Yield 12 servings (serving size: 2 tamales and about 5 teaspoons sauce)
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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 283
  • caloriesfromfat 24 %
  • fat 7.6 g
  • satfat 2.3 g
  • monofat 2.8 g
  • polyfat 1.8 g
  • protein 13.3 g
  • carbohydrate 42 g
  • fiber 5.3 g
  • cholesterol 28 mg
  • iron 3.3 mg
  • sodium 720 mg
  • calcium 122 mg

How to Make It

  1. Place corn husks in a large bowl; cover with water. Weight husks down with a can; soak 30 minutes. Drain husks.

  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. Combine broth mixture, onion, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender; process until mixture is smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup broth mixture; cover and chill. Place remaining broth mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.

  3. Preheat oven to 450°.

  4. 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). Let pork stand 20 minutes; shred pork with 2 forks. Toss shredded pork with reserved 1/2 cup broth mixture.

  5. 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. 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; fold over 1 more time. Fold bottom end of husk under. Place tamale, seam side down, on the rack of a broiler pan lined with a damp towel. Repeat procedure with remaining husks, Basic Masa Dough, and filling. Cover filled tamales with another damp towel. Pour 2 cups hot water in the bottom of a broiler pan; top with prepared rack.

  6. Steam tamales at 450° for 55 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a depth of about 1/2 inch. Let tamales stand 10 minutes. Serve with sauce and lime wedges, if desired.