Burned out on burritos? Tired of tacos? Make way for tamales. These Mexican delicacies are made of masa, a soft corn-based dough, filled with something tasty and steamed inside a corn husk. Tamales can be stuffed with cheese, meat, chilies–almost anything. But of course, we’ve gone the bean route with our tamales, filling them with spiced pinto beans for a smooth and creamy treat.
Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list or the lengthy steps. The process is a bit involved, but it’s not difficult and it’s completely worth it. Tamales also freeze well, so we recommend making a big batch all at once and freezing them for later. They make fantastic tailgating food or a quick lunch or dinner.
If you’re worried about finding ingredients like masa (corn flour) for our dough or epazote (a Mexican herb that also reduces gas–bonus!), don’t be. You can find these ingredients in the ethnic food aisle of many large grocery stories. If you still can’t track down epazote, don’t worry–regular oregano will be just fine, but do use the epazote if you can find it.
Try something different with these vegetarian pinto bean tamales.
Pinto Bean Tamales
Tips: Don’t rush the process or you’ll get frustrated. Leave yourself a half day to make these. Make a few dozen and freeze them to steam later since you’ll have several corn husks in your package. Depending on how big or small your corn husks are, your filling may go further. You can substitute vegetable shortening for regular shortening and butter to make this vegan.
- One package corn husks
- 4 1/2 cups of Randall Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 2 poblano peppers, diced
- 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp epazote or oregano
- 2 ½ tsp + 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground red chipotle
- ¼ tsp chili con carne
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups masa flour
- ? cup shortening
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup shredded queso fresco
- Soak the corn husks in hot water for 30 minutes or until soft. Prepare the filling and masa while the husks soak.
- In a medium saucepan, heat pinto beans with butter and stir until half of the mixture is smooth and half is still whole beans, about five minutes.
- In a skillet, saute the onion, bell peppers and poblanos until soft, about five minutes. Add the spices and salt and stir. Pour the vegetables into the pot with the beans and stir until incorporated.
- Using a stand mixer, spoon or your hands, mix room temperature shortening and butter with the masa flour until incorporated. Start pouring the vegetable broth in slowly as you continue to mix the flour into dough. You want it to be creamy enough that you can spread smoothly onto the corn husks.
- Drain the corn husks and pat them dry on towels. Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of the masa dough onto the corn husks in a small 4x4 square up against one side of the husk. If you place the husk horizontal on your table, spread the dough from the left side of the husk to about ? of the way across, leaving about 2 inches of space from the top of the husk.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of the bean filling onto the masa dough. Top with a few pinches of queso fresco. Start to roll the tamale by covering all of the dough and filling with one side of the husk, then fold the tail end and continue to roll so that one end of the tamale is open and the other one is pinched shut with the husk. Place the seam side down and onto a plate.
- In a large dutch oven add 2 inches of hot water and begin to boil. Place the tamales onto a steamer basket and steam in the dutch oven for 12-15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve with rice, enchilada sauce, pico de gallo and more queso fresco for topping. Carefully roll the tamale out of the husk and onto your plate.
What do tamales make you think of? Who eats tamales? Tamales, to me, evoke the old Armored Hotdogs ads. Who doesn’t love ’em? Chicken, pork, beef, bean and cheese – there just seem to be so many to choose from! Make sure when you are making those delightful maze treats that you treat your family right with high-quality beans. Great beans come in glass jars.
This recipe can be made with either Randall Beans Organic products.