Firsthand Foods Baked Tamal Recipe

Baked Tamal

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A treat for ya’ll from Phoebe Lawless. This Baked Tamal recipe features Firsthand Foods pork shoulder and leaf lard. It’s an adaptation from the brilliant Rick Bayless, who has simplified the process of tamales…you can double or triple this recipe to feed a big crowd. Like their inspiration it’s perfect party food. Serves 8 – 10.


For the braised pork:

1.5# pork shoulder, trimmed of silver skin and cut into large chunks
4 T neutral oil (canola, vegetable, or Firsthand Foods lard!)
4 pasilla peppers, stemmed and seeded
2 large white onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic
½# tomatillos, husked and large diced
3-4 cups chicken stock or water

For the tamal batter:

8 ounces lard
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1.75 pounds course ground masa OR 3.5 cups masa harina
1 cup broth or water
1 generous teaspoon salt


To make filling:
Season pork well with salt and pepper, reserve.

Heat 2T oil/fat in pan until light smoke, add onions and peppers and garlic. Cook until softened. Add tomatillos and 2 cups liquid and cook until everything is soft. Allow to cool and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Remove from pan.

Heat remaining oil in pan and brown shoulder evenly. Add pepper/onion mix and enough additional liquid to almost completely cover. Simmer for about an hour until meat is very tender and braise has reduced. Cool a bit and shred with two forks, mixing meat and liquid. Adjust seasoning. Reserve. Can be made a couple of days ahead.

To make batter:
With an electric mixer, beat lard and baking powder and salt until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer down and slowly add masa in three additions. Add ½ cup broth at a time until you get a thick, cake batter consistency. 

To assemble the tamal:
Preheat oven to 400, generously grease a 10” cake or pie pan.

Spread half of the batter on the bottom of the pan. Add about 1.5 cups of the pork mix to the top of the batter, leaving about half an inch perimeter. (You will have extra…put it in a taco :))

Top with remaining tamal batter and cover meat mix completely.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until batter has firmed and is golden. Allow to cool for 8-10 minutes, then run a knife around the inside edge of the pan. Invert onto cake board or plate and serve.