Tamales, the Barcelo way  

Some traditions can’t be broken. Especially the ones that bring comfort. My mom and dad always made tamales right around Christmas; and whether  we liked it or not, we had to help in the assembly line in our kitchen.  So today, I’m torturing my kids and nephews just like my parents did to us.  Our masa is very rich and creamy, it’s worth making it the Barcelo way. Check out the recipe and start this new tradition with your family.

Start with the masa (masa means the dough in the tamales)

Ingredients: NO LARD

Wet ingredients.

  • ½ pound butter, whipped
  • 1 ½ cups cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups creamed corn (I put canned corn in my food processor until it was creamy)

Cream all the ingredients above  in the kitchen aid, then add:

Dry ingredients.

  • 4 cups of Masa Harina
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 cups chicken stock

Mix the chicken stock and Masa Harina alternately so the flour doesn’t poof in your face. This only happens with a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. ( you can do all this by hand but you’ll turn into the Hulk when your done) Growing up, my mom always made my dad mix the masa; so make your honey get involved if you want to do it the Barcelo way. My husband is always at the fire station so my man power is the Kitchen Aid. 

I creamed a huge can of corn in my food processor.  You can’t always find creamed corn so you can cream it yourself in the food processor.  Make sure you use creamed corn so that your masa stays smooth and velvety.

Prepare the filling with your choice of meat. I used beef this time.



  • 10 pounds of beef, cubed. Ask your butcher for a beef chuck or pork shoulder/butt.
  • 1 onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder

Roast the cubes if seasoned meat and onion in a roasting pan at 350 for 2 ½ hours (cover with foil). If you have a crock pot big enough for the meat, you can use that and cook it at high for 3 hours.

Once the meat has cooked and cooled a bit, it’s time to shred it.   I put it in my Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment for shredding. Make sure you let the meat cool a bit before you shred it.  You can shred it the old-fashioned way, but again, you’ll have Hulk fingers by the time your done.

Watch how easy the shredding is in the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.



Homemade Sauce:

  • 1 bag of  California chilies
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, garlic salt.
  • 1 can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce.
  • 3 cups chicken broth

Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles and roast them in a cast iron skillet. Pour boiling water over them and let them sit for 20 min.  Scoop out the soft chiles and add them to a blender with seasoning.  Add chicken broth in the blender instead of the boiled chile water. That water will be too spicy, just toss it, or use a little if you want a little more kick to your sauce.  Strain the chile sauce to remove the tough skin and chunks. You’ll mix this with the cooked meat for a savory meat filling.

Store bought sauce.

You can use canned enchilada sauce if you don’t want to make your own sauce.  Add more onion or garlic to it for flavor.  Or put in a 1/2 can of Chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce.  You can use any sauce you can get a hold of.  Tamales are a work of art, so you can’t go wrong.

Once the sauce is finished, pour it over your meat and  refrigerate for the next day. 
Look for corn husks at your local Market. Soak them in hot water for 30 minutes before you use them.  Rinse them and pat dry before you are ready to use.  




Spread the husk with masa.  Leave a little room on the edges for folding.

Fill it with your favorite ingredients.  I like to use meat, cheese, olive and one slice  of potato.  

Here is Chef Takis showing you how to fold a tamale. Checkout his full video on Tamale making on Youtube.


Steam the tamales for 45 minutes, then let them rest for 20 before you unwrap them.  Because we eliminated the Lard and added all the creamy ingredients, the masa is very soft and creamy.  It’s not raw, its soft, moist, rich and very delicious.  


tamaleMaking Tamales with family and friends is the only way to do this.  Spend a day ahead to prepare the meat and masa, and the next day is the assembly.  Once the tamales are done, you can freeze the raw tamales in zip lock bags.  Frozen tamales can be steamed for 1 hour, and rest them for 20 minutes before you unwrap them.  Good luck and enjoy!




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