Crab 'n' Shrimp Stuffed Tamales

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

3/4 tablespoon salt

16 tamale husks

Seafood Stuffing:

1 pound medium (21/25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pint picked jumbo lump crabmeat

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Juice of 1/2 a lime


1 1/2 cups masa harina

Red Seafood Sauce:

1 dried New Mexico or California chile pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 fennel bulb, sliced

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons ground cumin

One 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, such as Glen Muir

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  1. For the seafood stuffing: Roughly chop the shrimp up into chunky pieces. Set a large saute pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, add the shrimp. Saute until just pink, about 2 minutes, and then add the crabmeat. Season with the cumin, paprika and some salt and pepper. Gently fold the mixture together, and then shut off the heat and add the lime juice. Allow to cool. Divide the mixture; you will use one half to stuff the tamales, and one half for the seafood sauce. 
  2. For the tamales: Mix the masa, 1 1/4 cups water, butter and salt into a thick paste. To prepare the tamales, set a corn husk out on a flat surface (double up or shingle 2 husks if they are small or have tears). Add 5 tablespoons of the masa mix into the center of the corn husk. Push the mixture to 1 inch from the side of the husk. Add 2 tablespoons of seafood stuffing to the center. Fold one edge of the husk to the center, and then fold the other side to cover the entire tamale. Fold the ends over by 2 inches and tuck under to hold in place. 
  3. Place a colander in large pot of boiling water, but do not let the colander touch the water. Place the tamales in the colander, cover and steam the tamales for 30 to 40 minutes. 
  4. For the red seafood sauce: First, rehydrate the chile pepper. Place the dried chile in a cup of hot water and let sit for 10 minutes. 
  5. Set a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and saute the fennel, onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine, and then simmer to evaporate some of the wine, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cumin, chile pepper, the water from the chile pepper and the can of tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid reduces and the flavors come together, about 20 minutes. Blend until smooth with a stick blender, and then fold in the remaining half of the seafood stuffing. Taste and season once more if needed. Serve the red seafood sauce over the crab and shrimp tamales.