Red Chile and Pork Tamale Filling

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins

This is a wonderful tamale filling! Full of flavor and a very traditional recipe. I have posted the recipe for the shredded pork separately. Please note that the amount of shredded pork used is an estimate. The recipe calls for a 2 1/2 pound pork butt. The amount of pork you end up with, will depend on fat, bone, etc. This recipe came from the Arizona Republic Newspaper and is absolutely wonderful. The directions for the masa dough for the tamales can be found on the package or see my recipe for fresh masa mix (much more work than the packaged masa mix). This recipe does not include the preparation or assembly of the tamales. It is just the recipe for the filling. Prep time does not include preparation of pork or assembly of tamales.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact.
  2. Meanwhile, remove stems and seeds from chiles while rinsing under cold running water.
  3. Place them on the griddle and toast, 3 or 4 at a time, just until the aroma is released, 30 to 60 seconds. Be careful not to burn them.
  4. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let soak until softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Drain the chiles and discard the liquid.
  6. Place chiles, oregano, 2 garlic cloves and the water or stock in blender and process to a smooth puree. Add more water or stock if it is too thick.
  7. Work puree through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  8. Discard any solids that remain.
  9. Pour in a little more liquid to help rinse the sauce through the sieve.
  10. In heavy, medium-size saucepan, heat lard or oil over medium-high heat until rippling.
  11. Add remaining garlic and brown in the hot fat, pressing down with the back of a cooking spoon to release flavor.
  12. Remove and discard garlic.
  13. Add flour, stirring constantly until golden.
  14. Add strained chile puree and salt to the pan and reduce the heat to low.
  15. It will splatter, so be careful.
  16. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the raw taste is gone and the flavor of the chiles has mellowed, about 10 minutes.
  17. Reserve 1/2 cup of chile to mix with masa dough.
  18. Mix shredded pork into remaining mixture. Makes enough filling for 45 to 50 tamales.