Tamale Casserole RecipeJump to Recipe
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Tamale CasseroleCourse: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium
Tamales are a classic of Mexican cuisine. Not only are they delicious, but a recipe that brings family together. If you love tamales; then, you are sure to love this tamale casserole. This “tamal de cazuela” looks like a perfectly layered cake with bold flavors that contain a WOW factor. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to fall in love with this recipe. ENJOY!
- Cook the meat
3 lbs beef chuck roast, boneless
3 TBSP avocado oil
12 cups water
- Aromatics for broth
1/2 medium white onion
1 ea head garlic, cut in half
3 ea bay leaves
1 tsp Mexican oregano, dry
1 tsp all spice, whole
2 tsp kosher salt
- For the sauce
8 ea dry chiles guajillos, remove the stem and seeds
2 ea dry ancho chiles, remove the stem and seeds
4 ea dry puya chiles, remove the stem and seeds
3 cups hot broth
1/2 cup water, swirl in blender
4 ea garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp whole cumin
2 TBSP avocado oil
1/4 ea medium white onion, sliced
Salt to taste, 1 1/2 tsp salt, kosher
- Corn husk
25 ea corn husk
- For the masa dough
8 cups corn masa harina, instant
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste, 1 TBSP + 1 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 cup avocado oil
5 cups warm broth
- See the bottom of the page for information on NOTES listed here (instructions.)
Cook the meat : Cut the meat into medium size pcs. Generously season all sides of the cuts with salt and ground black pepper. Place a large pot over medium-high to medium heat. Heat the oil and brown all sides of the meat (note # 1.) Pour the water into the pot, if you removed some of the meat, place it back into the pot. Add all of the aromatics for the broth plus the salt. Allow it to reach a boil (note # 2.) Then, lower the heat to medium low and let it cook on a gentle simmer for 2.5 hrs or until the meat is super tender. When the meat is ready, remove it from the pot and shred it. Strain the broth and reserve for later use.
- For the sauce: heat a comal over low-heat. Toast the peppers just until they release their fragrance, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure you turn them continuously (note # 3.) Once done transfer them into a large container, rinse and drain them. Cover and hydrate all the chilis with 3 cups of the hot broth for about 5-10 minutes or until they soften (note# 4.)
- In a blender process the hydrated chilis and broth they were soaked in, the garlic, onion powder and cumin until completely smooth. If needed, you can strain the sauce. Place a large pan over medium-heat and heat the oil. Sauté the onion until golden brown. Carefully pour in the chili sauce and stir. Swirl 1/2 cup of water into the blender to get the last bit of sauce and pour into the pan, stir it in. Lower to medium-low heat and let it cook on a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes to reduce and thicken. Meanwhile…
- Prep the corn husk: Sort though them and choose the best looking ones, medium- large in size. Discard the ones with dark spot or holes around the middle area. Submerge them in warm water for about 15 minutes. Rinse, remove the corn silk and drain. Reserve until needed.
- Back to the sauce: Stir in salt to taste. Coat the shredded beef in the sauce. Remove from the stove and let it cool down for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- For the masa dough: In a large bowl combine the instant corn masa harina, baking powder, and salt until well incorporated. Pour in the oil and mix it in until well combined (note # 5).
- Add the warm broth gradually, and knead in between additions until the dough is fully hydrated and comes together. Then, knead for another 5 minutes or until it feels soft, smooth, fully hydrated, and does not stick to your clean hands (note # 6.) Separate the masa into 3 equal parts.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.
- Assemble the casserole: Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.
I. Grease an 11×16 baking dish with baking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with the corn husk and overlap them to cover any empty spaces.
II. Take some of the first portion of dough and slightly spread over a non-stick surface (silpad or parchment paper.)
III. Take it over to the baking dish and finish spreading it to about 3/8” in thickness. Repeat the same steps until the designated portion of dough is evenly spread across the entire bottom of the dish.
IV. Cover the sides with some additional corn husk. Tuck under the bottom leaves as you leave an overhang around the edges.
V. Next, spread half of the already cooled beef filling evenly across the surface. Create another layer with the second portion of masa, don’t push too hard as the filling is now your base. Spread the last portion of the filling and top it off with the third layer of masa dough. To make the top smoother, rub some oil in between your hands, and lightly pat the surface.
*** Below are the steps on how to assemble the casserole with PICTURES. ***
- Bake the casserole: wrap the tamal with the hanging leaves by folding them downward. Place some more leaves on top to cover any empty spaces and tightly wrap with aluminum foil. Place a large baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven and carefully pour in about 1 1/2” of Hot Water (Note # 7.) Quickly place the casserole in the middle rack and close the oven (note #8.) Bake for about 1 hr and 45 minutes or until the top and edges look set, and the tamal easy pulls away from the corn husks.
- When the time comes to remove the casserole from the oven, carefully open the door as the steam will exit first. Stand away from it and remove the dish when its safe to do so. Remove the aluminum foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Then, remove the corn husk on top and sides.
- Test with a Toothpick: apart from sight and touch,you can also insert a toothpick in the center of the casserole. If it comes out clean, its done. If some dough comes out, taste it. If it tastes cooked, its ready. ***Note: Place back in the oven to finish cooking if its still not cooked through.
- If your casserole is cooked through, cut into squares and serve. ENJOY!!!
- Below is the VIDEO Tutorial on how to make tamales with lard: 👇🏻 Red pork tamales made with lard 🖨️ PRINTABLE RECIPE 👈 Click here
- Note # 1: If necessary, brown the meat in batches to prevent overcrowding the pot.
- Note # 2: Feel free to remove any of the scum that may rise to the top.
- Note # 3: Don’t let the dry peppers burn because they will turn the sauce really bitter.
- Note # 4: If needed, reheat the broth in the microwave. It needs to be hot.
- Note # 5: Lard is traditionally used to make tamales but I grew up having them with oil. To be honest, There is so much beef flavor in the broth, I don’t even miss the lard but both versions are amazing.
- Note # 6: the amount of broth needed can vary. As you knead, feel the masa and stop when you reach the right consistency. You may need more or less, adjust as needed.
- Note # 7: The water needs to be hot for the best results (for baking).
- Note # 8: Try not to keep the oven open for too long as this will cause the temperature to drop and result in a longer baking time.
Assemble the Casserole STEP BY STEP
Grease an 11×16 baking dish with baking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with the corn husk and overlap them to cover any empty spaces.
Divide the dough into three equal portions. Take some of the first portion of dough and slightly spread over a non-stick surface first (silpad or parchment paper.)
Take it over to the baking dish and finish spreading it to about 3/8” in thickness. Repeat the same steps until the designated portion of dough is evenly spread across the entire bottom of the dish.
Cover/line the sides with additional corn husks. Tuck them under the bottom leaves, as you leave an overhang around the edges.
Spread half of the already cooled beef filling evenly across the surface.
Create another layer with the second portion of masa, don’t push too hard as the filling is now your base.
Spread the last portion of the filling.
Top it off with the third layer of masa dough. To make the top smoother, rub some oil in between your hands, and lightly pat the surface.
Fold the hanging leaves downward to wrap the tamal.
Cover with a few more corn husks, that way there is no open spaces.
Tightly wrap with aluminum foil. It’s ready to bake!