wpid-20140427220457.pngI love making tamales. Chicken tamales, beef tamales, sweet tamales…you name it. It’s a labor of love though. It takes at least 8 hours, start to finish. So yeah, I consider making tamales a vacation because it takes so long. But it also reminds me of my family, we used to have these every Christmas while I was growing up. I’m a quarter hispanic, so I’m used to real Mexican food and continue my search for good food whenever we move. Even hubby gets excited when we find a place serving real Mexican food. It’s like discovering the holy grail for us.wpid-20140426_162101.jpg But I’m a disgrace to the Hispanic community. I don’t eat beans and don’t cook with lard. Shameful. Just shameful. I can make a mean tamale though. Fluffy little pillows of love stuffed with meat, all tied up with a bow.

So while I eat these with a double side of rice (no beans), let me show you how to make tamales.

There’s a bunch of different recipes for the filling, but I’ve patched together my own delicious version. For the beef I shove everything into the slow cooker in the morning and while it’s bubbling away I soften the corn husks and make the masa. Now don’t hate me…for me cooking isn’t an exact science unless I’m baking a cake. So I rarely use actual teaspoons and tablespoons, I just sort of eyeball it in the palm of my tiny elf hands. So if you don’t like a certain spice or can’t stand the heat, just omit that ingredient. (I’ve been getting my kids adjusted to spicy food for years. They don’t even realize it. wink.)

Beef Filling:

  • 3-4 lb beef roast
  • 2 dry (whole) chile de arbol -(skinny red dried chilies in the ethnic section)
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 Tbs oregano
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 TBS crushed sage
  • 2 TBS black peppercorns
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 6 mini carrots
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • oil for frying
  • water

Heat oil in pan, and brown all sides of the roast. We just want a nice crust on it, we’re not trying to cook it all the way through. Now drop it in the slow cooker, add all your spices and veggies on top. Add just enough water to go about 1/3 to 1/2 up the side of the roast. Cover the top and cook on high 4-6 hours.

*The carrots are for fun. I was snacking on mini carrots and thought “why not”. 😉

Now moving on to the masa…wpid-20140426_151906.jpg

Tamale Masa:

  • 1 (16 oz) can vegetable Crisco
  • 1 tps salt
  • 2 tbs baking powder
  • 9 1/2 cups Maseca corn masa flour
  • 7 cups “water”

Beat Crisco, salt and baking powder until whipped and fluffy. Add corn masa flour and combine well until soft like wet sand. Cover and set aside until the roast is done. After roast is done, strain liquid and use 7 cups of it. (If you don’t have 7 cups of broth, use as much as you can and add enough water to equal 7 cups of liquid)= “water”. Now mix until well combined. Really use those muscles. I even got out the potato masher and had fun with this…in the biggest bowl I own. Cover it with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge.

* This makes a lot of masa. I only went though half of it yesterday. If you halve the recipe you can make 4 dozen tamales. Otherwise it makes about 8-9 dozen.

Soak half a package of corn husks in warm water, stirring often. This is enough for 4 dozen tamales. wpid-20140426_151859.jpg*I soaked them in the huge pot I was going to cook them in. It was perfect since they stand up in it. While I was assembling tamales I put the tamales in a 9×13 pan. Then I drained the water and put the tamales in the pot when I was done.

Back to the roast!

Take that sucker out and let it cool down for a few minutes. Trust me or you’ll burn yourself. Now shred it in a large bowl. Okay, now put 1/2 of it in another bowl. Here’s the fun part. I make my fillings non-kosher…like now I add a can of green chilies to one bowl and salt and pepper it. To the other bowl I add the cooked onions, strained seasoning, salsa and Cholula hot sauce. I don’t bother cooking it in a red sauce…these are MY version of tamales. I know, I know…a total disgrace. But they taste pretty awesome. Think of it like fusion cooking. That was all the rage back when, right? You can add just about anything into them. Some of my sweet tamales are made with craisins, walnuts and pineapples, with cinnamon in the masa. 😉wpid-20140426_151842.jpgOkay, I do assemble them traditionally. I’m not a total disgrace. Here’s my pot of soaked corn husks, bowl of masa, and green chile beef (my red beef is hanging out in the fridge). Putting together my assembly line! I had to stand on a chair to take this picture, dang I felt short, so ignore my Russian nesting doll pajamas. Hah.

*And keep the masa partly covered while you assemble them so it doesn’t dry out. I kept it covered more than this picture. wpid-20140426_150621.jpgHere’s how to assemble them: First, rip up a skinny husk into strips. These will be your ties. You can always make more ties, don’t fret.wpid-20140426_151428.jpgGrab a corn husk (if it’s too skinny you can overlap two of them). Spread a heaping tablespoon onto the corn husk.wpid-20140426_151019.jpgwpid-20140426_151032.jpgStart painting it on with the back of the spoon, making the strokes away from you. You start at the bottom and smooth it towards the top. (My husk is way wider than the picture shows, I was trying to hold it open. The masa is in the middle 1/3 of the husk and starts a 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.) Leave about 1 1/2 to 2 inches at the top of the husk, the tamale likes to get a little fluffy. wpid-20140426_151123.jpgAdd your filling! I’m more than generous with my portions. I like meaty tamales. You’re welcome. If you want to be skimpy you can make 9 dozen tamales instead of the 4 dozen I managed.wpid-20140426_151155.jpgwpid-20140426_151641.jpgNow fold the masa in half, making sure it sealed. I match up the edges. Mmmm…little meat pocket.wpid-20140426_151213.jpgRoll it up! We don’t want a tube, we’re aiming for a slightly flat husk.wpid-20140426_151236.jpgFold up the bottom part of the husk (without any masa or filling). Get it nice and tight by the bottom.wpid-20140426_151243.jpgwpid-20140426_151256.jpgPut a tie behind it.wpid-20140426_151322.jpgAnd tie it into a square knot. Yes, a square knot. I didn’t have sisters, I grew up with a brother in Boy Scouts. So it must be a square knot. wpid-20140426_151344.jpgTaa-dah! Stick it in the pan and make a whole bunch more!wpid-20140426_151355.jpgOnce you use up all your husks you’ll have a nice pile waiting to be cooked. Dump out that corn water (it’s yellow!) and add some clear water to the bottom of your steam pot. Put the steaming insert in. Starting with one side of the pot, stand up the tamales in your pot.wpid-20140426_170131.jpgPrettiest sight ever. Mmmmm. (And look at my masa bowl…only used half of it, dang). Sweet. Steam them for 60-90 mins until cooked through. Take a tamale and see if the masa is solid and not mushy. It will peel away from the husk easily. If not, keep cooking them. wpid-20140426_162101.jpgLet them cool down in a 9×13. It lets them set up a little and they will peel away easier.

You’re still here? What are you waiting for? Permission? Go ahead and eat them!

Cover the rest with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for tomorrow. (Reheat in the microwave for 45 seconds, still in the husk). Or put in plastic bags with husks still on and freeze for later. (Reheat for 1 min or more). I think they taste better the next day. Yummy beef tamales recipe. Right? I think so. 🙂

*I have a hot microwave, it runs at 1250 watts. You’ll probably want to cook it longer if you have 1100 or 1000w.

Beef Filling for Tamales
Yields 4
Delicious Beef Roast filling with chilies
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 lb beef roast
  2. 2 dry (whole) chile de arbol
  3. 1 tsp rosemary
  4. 1 Tbs oregano
  5. 1 Tbs chili powder
  6. 2 dry bay leaves
  7. 1 TBS crushed sage
  8. 2 TBS black peppercorns
  9. 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  10. 6 mini carrots
  11. dash of salt and pepper
  12. oil for frying
  13. water
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in pan, and brown all sides of the roast.
  2. Now drop it in the slow cooker, add all your spices and veggies on top.
  3. Add just enough water to go about 1/3 to 1/2 up the side of the roast.
  4. Cover the top and cook on high 4-6 hours.
Notes
  1. We just want a nice crust on it when we pan fry it in oil... we’re not trying to cook it all the way through.
Golden Rippy https://goldenrippy.com/
Tamale Masa
Yields 8
Soft and fluffy corn masa used for delicious tamales.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 (16 oz) can vegetable Crisco
  2. 1 tps salt
  3. 2 tbs baking powder
  4. 9 1/2 cups Maseca corn masa flour
  5. 7 cups “water”
Instructions
  1. Beat Crisco, salt and baking powder until whipped and fluffy.
  2. Add corn masa flour and combine well until soft like wet sand.
  3. Cover and set aside until the roast is done.
  4. After roast is done, strain liquid and use 7 cups of it.
  5. Mix until well combined.
  6. Cover it with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge.
Notes
  1. *If you don’t have 7 cups of broth, use as much as you can and add enough water to equal 7 cups of liquid which will act as the “water”.
  2. * This makes a lot of masa. I only went though half of it. If you halve the recipe you can make 4 dozen tamales. Otherwise it makes about 8-9 dozen.
Golden Rippy https://goldenrippy.com/
Happy cooking!

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