Hot Tamales Recipe | The Mississippi Delta

You might be surprised to learn that tamales have Southern roots as well as Mexican. They are a staple in the Mississippi Delta region and have been for longer than anyone can remember. This version is made with shredded tender beef and cornmeal, wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. Considered the star of the show, many locals enjoy tamales with just some hot sauce and saltine crackers. If you can't find corn husks for wrapping, you can use parchment paper, or even Swiss Chard leaves.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chuck roast cut into large chunks
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 8 oz package corn husks

Masa Dough

  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1 1/2 cups Reserved Beef Broth From Cooking Beef
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Lard
Method
  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, cook chuck roast with a dash of oil until browned on all sides. Add beef broth and water over the top of your beef and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour.
  • While the beef is cooking, soak the corn husks in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes or until softened then set aside.
  • When the meat is done, remove from pot and serve liquid. Remove any fat pieces from beef then shred the meat with a fork and set aside.
  • Heat up the pot over medium heat and add vegetable oil. Stir in all seasonings. Add the meat back to the pot and stir to coat meat with seasonings, about 5 minutes. Set beef aside.
  • Make the masa dough by adding masa harina, baking powder, salt and cumin in a large bowl. In a separate bowl add lard with 1 tbsp. broth then mix with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix lard with dry ingredients. Beat again with electric mixer until all combined. Add the broth, little by little until it's spreadable like mashed potatoes. Cover the bowl with a wet paper towel and set aside.
  • Assemble the tamales by laying out the corn husk, glossy side up and wide end on the top (you can double up on them if you’d like). Scoop out about ¼ cup of the dough on top and flatten with plastic wrap until ¼” thick. Place 2 tbsp beef filling down the center then fold in one long side of the husk over the filling then take the opposite side and fold that over the center, like you’re folding a brochure. Fold the bottom half up and tie.
  • Place the tamales upright, closed side down in a large steamer basket. Steam over simmering water until masa is cooked through, about 1 hour. Serve warm inside husks.

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