Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shredded Beef Tamales

I finally made beef tamales. What a big job!! It took all day and I was so exhausted by the end of it, but it was totally worth it. As you can see, I've got a lot of leftovers that I'm going to freeze. This will be easy for those nights when I don't want to cook. I got the recipe from All Recipes

4 pounds boneless chuck roast
4 cloves garlic
3 (8oz) packages of dried corn husks
4 ancho chiles (Also called California chiles or New Mexico chiles)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon white vinegar
salt to taste
3 cups lard
1 tablespoon salt
9 cups masa harina

1. Place beef and 4 cloves of garlic in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Let simmer for 3 1/2 hours, until beef is tender and shreds easily. When beef is done, remove from pot, reserving 5 cups cooking liquid and discarding garlic. Allow meat to cool slightly, and shred finely with forks.

2. Meanwhile, place corn husks in a large container and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for 3 hours, until soft and pliable. May need to weight down with an inverted plate and a heavy can.  
3. Toast ancho chiles in a cast iron skillet, making sure not to burn them. Allow to cool and then remove stems and seeds. Crumble and grind in a clean coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. After you toast them and break of the stem, the seeds just fall out. I just shook them over the sink and the seeds came out. I used a blender to crush them afterward. This was all I had and it seemed to work well enough.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet. Mix in flour and allow to brown slightly. Pour in 1 cup beef broth and stir until smooth. Mix in ground chiles, cumin seeds, ground cumin, minced garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, vinegar and salt. Stir shredded beef into skillet and cover. Let simmer 45 minutes. 

This was my first time ever buying lard. I looked for it in the cooking oil section a few times and I couldn't find it so then I had to ask the butcher.  This is the block of Lard that I bought. And of course I ran into someone at the grocery store with two blocks of lard in my hands. For some reason I find that lard is an embarrassing grocery item to buy. I'm just glad it wasn't one of my clients. Now, back to finding lard at the grocery store, I finally found it at Albertson's. So I would imagine that most grocery stores have it. Ask the butcher if you don't see it on the shelves.

5. Place lard and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whip with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add masa harina and beat at low speed until well mixed. Pour in reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until mixture is the consistency of soft cookie dough.

6. Drain water from corn husks. One at a time, flatten out each husk, with the narrow end facing you, and spread approximately 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the top 2/3 of the husk. Spread about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture down the middle of the masa. Roll up the corn husk starting at one of the long sides. Fold the narrow end of the husk onto the rolled tamale and tie with a piece of butchers' twine.
Our kitchen table was a disaster zone as you can see. The floor looked just like the table, there was masa everywhere!  

7. Place tamales in a steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately one hour, until masa is firm and holds its shape. Make sure steamer does not run out of water. Serve immediately, allowing each person to unwrap their own tamales. Allow any leftovers (still in husks) to cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator. 
*We served ours with green enchilada sauce and mozzarella cheese on top. 


  1. you go girl! that looks TOUGH. I actually don't like tomales, so thankfully that is one Everest I won't be tempted to climb :)

    1. Our kitchen got so hot yesterday because we don't have air conditioning, it was just a hot day and then I had things cooking in the kitchen all day. So when Tyrone came home from work yesterday I was sitting on the kitchen floor with the fan in front of my face on full blast. It probably looked quite pathetic especially with masa all over the floor and the rest of the kitchen a disaster zone. haha.