• 2 cups masa
  • 2/3 cup shortening or lard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • room temperature water
  • corn husks

Completely cook tamale fillings and cool to room temperature. You can also make the fillings a day ahead or days ahead and freeze, just make sure that your filling is thoroughly de-thawed prior to assembling tamales.

Pre-soak 25-30 cornhusks in a large bowl of cool water for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Combine masa, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add water and stir to thoroughly combine. Whip shortening or lard for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir shortening into the masa mixture and cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap until you are ready to begin assembling the tamales.

To assemble: Tear one or two of the cornhusks lengthwise into thin strips. Reserve these strips to be used as “ties” around the assembled tamales. Fill a pot fitted with a steamer basket with enough water to properly steam the tamales, but not too much that the water boils into the steamer basket. While you assemble the tamales, heat the pot of water to a boil on the top of the stove while covered with a tight fitting lid.

Remove on cornhusk from the bowl of water and place on a clean cutting board. Remove approx. 2 ounces of masa and roll into a ball slightly larger than a golf ball. Place the ball of masa in the middle of the cornhusk. Fold in the sides of the cornhusk flattening the ball of masa until it covers most of the cornhusk.

Spoon 2-3 Tbs of filling into the middle of the masa. Pull up both sides of the cornhusk and fold the ends of the masa onto one another. (see video) Roll the cornhusk so that the masa and filling are completely encased and then tie a strip of cornhusk around the assembled tamale. Set the tamale aside and continue to assemble tamales until all of the masa and filling have been used.

Place the tamales in the steamer basket and then steam over boiling water, covered for 45 minutes- 1 hour. You will know that the tamales are done when the masa has hardened and the tamale easily pulls away from the cornhusk when unwrapped.

Serve immediately with guacamole and salsa. You can cool the leftover tamales in the refrigerator overnight and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. To reheat, either microwave for 2-3 minutes unwrapped from the husk, or re-steam the tamale until thoroughly

BBQ Beef Tamale Filling

  • 1/2 pound beef stew meat cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

In a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, simmer the beef stew meat and beef stock over low heat for 2-3 hours or until the beef is fork tender. Reserve the cooking liquid into a mixing bowl or a heat proof mixing cup. Mix the drained beef with the BBQ sauce in the sauce pan. Add cooking liquid back to the meat mixture if your filling looks too dry.

Chicken Adobo Tamale Filling

  • 1lb chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, combine all of the ingredients and simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours. Remove from the heat and shred the chicken. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

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About Chef Pete

Chef Pete received his classical training at the Western Culinary Institute in 1999, and then went on to work in the kitchens of various restaurants in WI, NM, and IL.

After working as a corporate chef for Sub-Zero Corp. and then the Viking Cooking School, Pete realized that there are 4 things in life that he truly loves:
1. His Family
2. Teaching others how to cook great food in their own kitchens.
3. Cycling
4. Tacos.
In That Order.

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