Shredded beef tamal(tamal de carne deshebrada). This carne deshebrada is based on my original recipe posted here on my blog. I enjoy it so much, that I knew it would make a delicious beef tamal! I have been working feverishly all day to try and produce these two videos to share with you all. It’s tamal season and there’s no time to waste! Let’s get to it! Shredded Beef and Cheese Tamal!
The Stories Behind The Recipes!
If you are like me, you enjoy reading about what inspires people to cook certain recipes. Most times I feel a connection somehow when I read about how the food makes them feel. We are filled with nostalgia of days gone by, when we were kids. When mom, abuela or tia would prepare the ritual and traditional dishes that made us feel safe and secure. Love, actually. If the stories aren’t your thing, you could jump right to the recipe below. No worries. I’m a natural story teller by heart. The stories transport me back to mom’s kitchen, countless trips to Monterrey, Mexico and simple Sunday morning tortas de aguacate(avocado sandwiches). We grew up poor, but rich in so many other ways.
Carne Deshebrada Before Tamales!
I have enjoyed this recipe countless times way before I ever thought of using it as a tamal filling. Every year around tamal season(now), I get many request for beef tamales. Some people don’t prefer pork and that’s ok. My suggestion to them is to take any of my pork recipes and substitute with beef chuck roast or even chicken thighs, if you prefer. If the recipes are prepared with love, they will be delicious no matter what cut of protein you decide to use. Traditional tamales, I love them, but I am always open to trying different variations. How boring if we just stayed the same all of the time when it comes to recipes. Get in your kitchen and experiment with different ingredients. That’s the fun part of being a home cook. Make the recipes your own!
What’s The Deal With The Deli Sheets?? LOL!
Every time I post a tamal video I get that similar question. Several years ago, when my older sister was preparing her rajas con queso(chile and cheese) tamales, she wrapped them to keep the cheese from coming out all over the place. Loved the idea! Begin to do that for my cheese tamales too and noticed that they were super moist and I especially loved how the shape looked so nice. Less mess in my steamer pot too! Loved it so much that I begin wrapping all of my tamales since then. The lightly waxed deli sheets can be found at some Mexican markets near the tamal supplies. Also sold at restaurant supply and some big warehouse stores. it’s not a must, but I do prefer using the sheets.
Shredded Beef Tamal
- Large Steamer Pot
- Large dutch oven pot
Shredded Beef -Carne Deshebrada
- 3 lbs tri tip, chuck roast or flank steak sliced into large chunks
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3-4 tbsps avocado oil
- 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
- 2-3 large serrano peppers, roughly chopped
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 large poblano pepper, roughly chopped stem and seeds removed
- 3 med Roma tomato, quartered
- 3 large Tomatillos, quartered
- 1 1/2 tsps dried oregano
- 1 tsps dried thyme
- 1 tsps dried marjoram
- 3-5 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup maggi seasoning or worcestershire sauce
- 4 cups water
- 40-50 corn husk
- 1 1/2 cups natural rendered pork lard, oil or shortening lard is my first choice
- 4 cups masa harina corn flour(maseca)
- 2 tsps baking powder
- Salt, to taste
- 4 cups beef or chicken broth, at room temperature
- 24 oz queso fresco cremoso, jack cheese or queso oaxaca
- Slice the room temperature beef in large sections, 3-4 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat 3-4 tablespoons of avocado oil in a large dutch oven pot to medium heat for 5 minutes. When ready, sear and brown the beef on most sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and transfer to a large plate.
- In that same pot, add the onion, serrano pepper, garlic and poblano pepper. Stir well to combine, adding a little more oil, if needed. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the tomato and tomatillo. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the oregano, thyme, marjoram and bay leave. Stir to combine. Mix in the maggi sauce(or worcestershire). Stir to combine, then add the meat back in with all the juices. Pour in 4 cups of water or enough water to cover meat 3/4 of the way.
- When it comes up to a simmer, cover , reduce heat slightly to below medium and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until beef is pull apart tender. Taste for salt along the way as beef cooks.
- Once beef is tender, remove it from the pot. While it's hot, using two forks, shred the beef finely. Set aside. Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Transfer all of the solid from the pot to the blender jar. To the blender also pour in 4 cups of the broth from the pot. Holding the lid down with a towel, start on low, then blend on high until smooth.
- If you want to serve this dish as carne deshebrada with the broth, leave any remaining broth that it's the pot. Pour in the sauce from the blender and mix in the shredded beef. Stir well to combine and cook for 20 more minutes.
- If you want to use the shredded beef for tamales mix sauce from blender with shredded beef and not any extra broth from the pot. You want a thicker filling that will work better for tamales. Combine beef and sauce and cook down for 20 minutes. Cool completely before filling tamales. Works best to chill overnight. Slice the cheese into 30 equal sticks(2 inches tall). Cover and chill until ready to use.
- A few hours ahead, cover the corn husk with very hot water. Cover and set aside.
- In the stand mixer, whip the lard or shortening until creamy for a few minutes. Add the baking powder and salt. Gradually mix in the masa harina corn flour. Gradually mix in the room temperature broth until masa comes together. Taste for salt. Mix on medium speed for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a covered bowl and chill masa for a few hours.
Assemble And Steam Tamales
- Prep your work station with some masa, some of the beef filling and some of the corn husks. Take one corn husk and tear down one side so it's about 4 1/2 inches across. Using a spoon apply about 3 tablespoons of masa onto center of corn husk.
- As you spread the masa to cover the bottom half of corn husk, apply pressure as you work from the center to edges. You want an even, thin layer of the masa across the bottom half. Repeat, layering the masa filled corn husk with 10-12 corn husk.
- Fill each tamal with 3-34 tablespoons of beef filling down the center of tamal. Fold in the sides, then fold down the top flap. Stand tamales, open side up in a pot or lay onto a tray(baking sheet) until you are done assembling.
- Fill the bottom of a large steamer pot with water. Drop in a few coins. Add the steamer insert. Add a light layer of softened corn husk to the bottom of steamer. Transfer filled tamales, open side up to the steamer pot. To get my tamales to stand up straight, I use extra corn husk or foil paper and wedge it carefully between the pot and tamales.
- Cover tamales in pot with more corn husk. Bring pot up to a rapid steam on high heat. Once it begins to steam rapidly, reduce heat to below medium and continue steaming for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. After one hour, carefully take out one tamal and let it cool for 7-8 minutes. if the husk comes away from the tamal easily, the tamales are done. if not, continue steaming for the full 90 minutes.