Mexican Tamales Perfect Recipe for Christmas Entertaining


With the holidays almost on top of us, many families – Latino or not – may want to try their hand at traditional Latino fare. To make tamales, a festive, welcoming party food for the winter months, it’s advisable to make them a few days before hand and freeze them so they’re ready to be steamed.
Here’s a good old-world beef tamale recipe from a recent blog post by a Latina on The recipe makes about 40 tamales.

  • Masa and lard.
  • 6 pounds of corn masa for tamales
  • 2 pounds of shortening (manteca)
  • 4 teaspoons of “Royal”
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 pounds beef (cow shoulder, or substitute any preferred meat)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 4 dried guajillo red chile peppers
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of flour to use as a thickening agent
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 3 packages of leaves for tamales
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, split into strips (optional)

To make the filling: Cook the meat in 2 liters of water, 1 clove garlic, half the onion and salt for an hour, then let it cool to strip the meat into pieces. Fry the garlic and chopped onion in oil. Grind the chiles with garlic and onion and add flour. Combine into a pan and stir in broth until it becomes thick, then add the meat. Add salt and jalapeños to taste.
To make the masa (dough): Beat shortening in a bowl with the “Royal” until creamy. In a separate bowl, add broth, salt, ice, creating a dough and take a small taste to see if it needs salt. Add the shortening to the masa. Let sit for 10 minutes. The leaves should be washed and soaked at least for 2 hours before and let them sit until dry.
Spread the masa on the leaves, add a spoonful of meat filling, and close up the leaves. Once the tamales are wrapped, add water to the steamer and place tamales inside. Make sure you check the water in the steamer throughout and don’t allow it to dry out because the tamales will burn. Leave them in the steamer for two hours.