Festive Picadillo Tamales in Corn Husk

Today we made tamales for the ‘Encuentro de Cocineros’ event. The event is to raise money for Pina Palmera- a very worthwhile organization that works with people with disabilities, many of whom are indigenous and come from remote communities.

For more info. on Pina Palmera and how you can get involved:

We teach these tamales in our Fiesta class at Chiles&Chocolate Cooking School.

Here’s the recipe:

Picadillo Tamales in Corn Husk
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oiltamales
1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 1/4 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
½ cup almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
12 corn husks, soaked until soft
1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening
2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups warm chicken stock or broth
For the picadillo filling: In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil and
add the ground beef, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the beef is brown and
the onion is tender. Add the apple, tomatoes, jalapenos, raisins, cinnamon, cumin,
and salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally
to prevent sticking.
For the masa: In a large bowl, cream the lard or vegetable shortening until it’s light
and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix the masa harina with the salt and baking powder,
then gradually beat it into the lard, taking care not to add too much at once.
Finally, slowly beat enough of the warm chicken stock into the masa mixture to
make a mushy dough. To see if the masa is ready, place a small piece on top of a cup
of water. If it floats, the masa is ready; if it sinks, continue to beat until the texture is
light enough for it to float.


To assemble the tamales: Place softened cornhusks on a flat surface. Spread 3
tablespoons of the dough on each husk, leaving plenty of room all around for folding.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the picadillo in the center of the dough. Roll up the husk
from one long side, so that the filling is completely enclosed, then fold the ends of the
husk under. You can tie with strips of husk or kitchen twine, if desired.
To steam the tamales: Layer the folded husks seam side down in a flat-bottomed
steamer colander. Bring to a boil and cover tightly. Reduce heat and steam the
tamales for 1 hour. Serve warm, unwrapping the husks to reveal the fluffy tamales


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