The humble tamale has set many hearts on fire (and mouths if they’re spicy enough). Simple ingredients of meat, chiles, and masa along with some aromatics and seasoning creates a Latin fusion of delicious soul food. Here we use beef brisket and enchilada sauce to make a “red” tamale. This is actually a variation of a recipe that’s been in my family for a long time. We’ve definitely changed it to our liking. You do the same and make it your own!
Making tamales make such a great collaborative experience (a perfect CollabKitchen recpie!). Definitely make these around the holidays… Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years. Make sure you allow yourself a good amount of time to make these – at least an entire afternoon! Get some friends and family to help you. I’ve made these with my husband, friends and family and it’s a fun bonding/laughing experience.
P.S. Be on the lookout for our even tastier pork “green” tamale recipe coming soon. You may cry at how good it is (if I do say so myself).
- 1 Bag of corn husks
- 3 lbs beef brisket
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups Masa Harina (fine corn flour)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 5 cups water, divided
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cups enchilada or red chili sauce (Las Palmas is the best!)
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt
Bonus Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 container of sour cream
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1 minced garlic clove
- A few dashes of Cholula hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- In a medium braising pot, simmer beef in 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and 3 cups water for 1 hour or until meat can be shredded with a fork. Shred beef and cool completely.
- Soak 24-30 corn husks in water (in a large bowl or clean sink) for at least 30 minutes to soften.
- Mix 2 cups masa, 2 cups water, 1 cup milk, melted butter and salt (to taste) into a thick paste. Mixture should be easily handled but not a watery consistency.
- In a medium saute pan add oil, shredded meat and chopped onion. Fry on medium high for 3 -5 minutes, adding garlic in the last minute or two. Fry until meat is crispy. Reduce heat. Add enchilada sauce and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf after simmering.
- Apply approximately 5 tablespoons of masa in center of one corn husk. Push mix to 1-inch of the side of husk. Add 2 tablespoons of meat to center, fold 1 edge of side of husk to center and then fold the other side to cover entire tamale contents. Fold pointed end over by 2-inches. Repeat with other husks and ingredients.
- Place a colander in a large pot of *boiling water, but not touching water. Place tamales in colander with folded end down and open end up. Allow steam to rise to top. Steam tamales 30-40 minutes, covered.
- *Check water level every 15 minutes or so. Add hot water to bottom of pan if water level gets too low, making sure not to add too much water.
- In a bowl mix 1 container of sour cream, 1 lime zested and juiced, 1 minced garlic clove, a few dashes of Cholula hot sauce, 1-2 TBS chopped cilantro and salt and pepper. This is an awesome sauce to serve with the tamales!
Variations & Ideas:
- You can make tamales with chicken and green chili & tomatillo sauce. Just look in the enchilada sauce section for green enchilada sauce.
- You can add a small slice of cheddar or pepper jack cheese into each tamale. Yumm..Queso!!
- Make these around the holidays... Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years. You MUST!
- These tamales are a great fund raiser! Sell them around Christmastime to help support your favorite ministry/non-profit! :-)