Spicy Beef Tamales

Total Time:
45 min
Prep:
25 min
Cook:
20 min

Yield:
4 servings of 2 tamales per serving
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • For filling and tamale casings:
  • 4 ears fresh un-husked corn
  • For the ground beef:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the filling:
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (use gloves when handling)
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
Directions

Husk corn, discarding the silk. Place corn husks in a large pot and pour boiling water over them, and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry, leaving moist but not wet.

Cut the kernels from the corn to equal about 1 1/2 cups. Of this amount, puree 1 cup of the kernels in a food processor and leave the other kernels whole. Set aside.

For the ground beef:

Heat olive oil and saute onion until translucent. Add ground beef, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, celery salt, and salt and pepper, and cook until browned. Drain off extra fat and divide into even amounts per the number of tamales you will be making.

For the filling:

Combine cornmeal, salt, and 1 cup water in a mixing bowl. Bring another 1 cup of water to a boil and stir in cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, baking powder, pureed corn, whole corn kernels, and jalapeno.

The tamales are eaten directly from the corn husk casings in which they are steamed. To make tamale casings for steaming: Tear corn husks into strips. Some of these will be woven together and should be at least an inch wide. You will also need about 16 narrower strips (1/4 to 1/2 inch wide) to secure the ends of the tamales. Lay 4 strips or so side by side, and then weave another 4 or so through in a perpendicular fashion to make 8 rectangles about 8 inches square. Each tamale will be filled with even amounts of the corn mixture, beef mixture and cheese. Spoon some of the corn mixture (between 2 and 4 tablespoons) into the center of each tamale case and spread to make a layer. Then spoon an even amount of the ground beef mixture into the center of corn mixture on each tamale. Top beef mixture with even amounts of cheese on each tamale. At this point, begin 1 or 2 pans of boiling water, each fitted with a steaming rack (You will need enough steaming space over the pans to accommodate the tamales.) Fold the corn husks so the corn filling encases the meat filling and cheese. Secure the ends of the tamales casings by tying shut with pieces of corn husk. Place tamales on racks and steam - covered - for about 20 minutes to a half hour, replenishing water in pan(s) as needed. Let rest briefly before serving.


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