Saturday, December 14, 2013

Homemade Tamales

Do you ever hanker? I do. A lot. And when I hanker it is usually for Mexican food. Unfortunately, that is one cuisine that I never make at home. It always seems to me that homemade Mexican food (unless, of course, you are Hispanic and know what you're doing) lacks authenticity in both appearance and taste. Particularly taste. So, I do my pathetic best to satisfy that craving (read: tacos) until I can get to a local establishment for a combination plate of all of my favorites. 

Melissa's Produce (who is WAY more than produce) has changed all of that for frustrated cooks like me. They have created a
tamale kit that contains all of the ingredients needed (with the exception of the meat or vegetable filling -- recipes are provided for the latter) to make delicious, and darned cute tamales. 

I had never worked with corn husks before (except for craft projects, and you do NOT want to see my corn husk rose napkin rings), so was a total rookie working with this kit. If I can do it, so can you. 

The husks are pre-soaked, saving lots of time and aggravation. I used one husk to tear into ¼” strips to use as ties. Seasoned corn masa mix is included in the kit. Simply add water, and stir it together to use as the first layer. Spread it amply, but evenly onto the center of the husk. 

Top with your favorite filling. I like this recipe from (reproduced below for the sake of convenience), but you can use anything that suits you. Melissa's provides recipes for Mushroom Tamale Filling and Black Bean, Green Chile & Cheese Tamale Filling in the kit.

Fold one side of the husk in to cover the fillings. 

Fold the other side over to completely cover the fillings. 

Fold up the bottom and tie it closed.  Tie the top without folding.

Place in a steamer. (It would be lovely to get a tamale steaming pan from Santa. Just saying.)  I just used a medium stockpot lined with one of those collapsible vegetable steamers.

Steam for 45 minutes and serve. You will have the cutest, best tasting little tamales that you could ever imagine.  I served mine in the husks because I love those husks!  But you can easily roll them right out onto a steaming mound of cilantro or Spanish rice, if you prefer. 

This recipe makes a lot, so keep the extras until the next morning and unroll one onto your morning scrambled eggs and top with salsa. Delicioso!

Spicy Shredded Beef
(I browned the beef and dumped everything into the Crockpot and let it go for most of the day on low.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound lean beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Brown beef cubes for 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the garlic, salt and cumin. Cook another 15 minutes.

Add the can of tomatoes and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add water to the skillet as needed to keep the mixture from boiling dry.

When cooked very tender, cool, then shred the meat using 2 forks. Place back on heat and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.

If planning to freeze, cool before packing in freezer bags and placing in freezer.
For soft burritos, top a warm flour tortilla with the meat mixture, salsa, and grated cheese.

This post is linked to: 

Disclaimer: I received a Tamale kit from Melissa’s Produce in exchange for a review.  The opinions stated here are my own.


Marigene said...

Those look great, Pattie, and I bet they taste delicious. I learned how to make tamales from my Mexican friend when I lived in Phoenix...and I didn't even like Mexican food at the time!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

We ate tamales in corn husks a lot growing up. There was someone who specialized in making them, and my parents would buy them for a treat.y

Girl With Chalk said...


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pattie, just saw your message, and that table is a cinch! I have it on a large hexagonal table. I guess it would depend on the size plates you use, but there isn't a lot of room for a centerpiece. By cocking their hats sideways, you can squeeze more in for a centerpiece.

Hope this helps!



Raquel said...

Trader Joe's makes wonderful tamales in 2-3 different varieties - 30 of them for $10 or so . . . Just heat them up and you can freeze them for later! Just sayin . . . if you are short on time like me