The “main dish” at our little Mexican-themed New Year’s party were beef tamales. I’ve never made them before but have always wanted to try…and I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good. My only change would be next time I will make the masa just a little bit thinner…or just fill with a bit more meat.
Don’t be intimidated by tamales, I was actually shocked at how easy they were to make! Best part? Not only were they delicious fresh, but they can be frozen and steamed later. Hello snacks on demand!
Little tip: traditional tamales are tied with pieces of corn husk. None of that nonsense – kitchen twine is so much easier (and it won’t leave you frustrated because it won’t tear)! Also, I don’t own a fancy veggie steamer, so I simply put a colander in my stock pot, making sure that the water in the bottom didn’t make contact with the tamales. Easy enough.
- 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 lb. beef stew meat
- 1 c. water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 TBS all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground dried red New Mexico chile
- 16 large dried cornhusks
- 3 c. masa harina
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 TBS butter, melted
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 c. fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
- 1 c. water
- 16 pieces of kitchen twine
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare filling, heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beef; sauté 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Stir in 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring mixture to a boil. Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.
Transfer beef to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Pour drippings into a glass measure. Add enough water to drippings to equal 1 cup. Wipe pan with paper towels.
Shred beef into bite-sized pieces. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Return beef to pan; sprinkle with flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in ground chile; stir in drippings mixture. Reduce heat, and cook 7 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring often. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
Place whole cornhusks in a large bowl; cover with water. Weight husks down with a can; soak 30 minutes. Drain husks.
To prepare dough, combine masa and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add butter and oil; stir well. Add broth and 1 cup water; stir until a soft dough forms.
Working with one husk at a time, place about 1/4 cup masa dough in the center of the husk; press dough into a 4 x 3-inch rectangle. Spoon about 2 tablespoons beef mixture down one side of the dough. Using the corn husk as your guide, roll tamale up, jelly-roll style; fold bottom ends of the husk under. Tie 1 piece of twine around tamale to secure; stand upright in a vegetable steamer. Repeat procedure with the remaining whole corn husks, masa dough, beef mixture, and twine. Steam tamales, covered, 50 minutes, or until the dough is firm. Remove tamales from vegetable steamer; let stand 5 minutes. Serve with Red Chile Sauce, if desired.