A quick-fix dinner idea, featuring ready-made tamales and an easy chili cheese sauce.
Christmastime makes me think of tamales. Does the rest of the world serve tamales every Christmas Eve, or is that just Texas? I had big plans with my buddy from church who knows how slam ’em out like nobodies business. He was going to come over, teach me how to make authentic Mexican tamales and we were going to share the recipe with the whole wide world. The only problem? We planned to do it in December.
Note to future self: Don’t ever try to add one more single thing to the calendar in December ever, ever again. Yes, Christmastime is the most wonderful time of the year, and yes, that song will be stuck in my head for at least a solid week beyond this moment, but December is also the most busiest time of the year. Here we are, five months later and my hopes and dreams of making authentic tamales are still delayed until further notice, I couldn’t possibly put my cravings on hold any longer. Even my kids adore a good tamale, but I’ll tell ya, finding a good store-bought tamale isn’t necessarily an easy task. I went through plenty of ready-made brands at that grocery store, until I finally settled on my favorite from the Texas Tamale Company. They come in all different flavors, but I would have to say my number one pick is the good ol’ fashioned beef tamale.
Now, those of you who know me, or have even followed TAK closely, might be aghast at the fact that I just dropped a frozen food bomb on the website, but there are some things that (for now) I’m just ok with letting other people do for me. And, until I get a solid lesson under my belt, making tamales is one of those things. If you’re not down with the whole frozen tamale thing, just grab yourself a batch from your favorite Mexican restaurant, come on home and make yourself this quick and easy chili cheese sauce. You are not going to want to miss out on this cheesy chili sauce by the way. It’s kind of beefy, perfectly spiced and totally addictive. I couldn’t resist dipping a chip (or ten) in it before transferring the leftovers to a container to be devoured on another day.
If ever a Tex-Mex hankering strikes, and you are need of a quick fix, easy dinner, this should be your new go-to. If ever you are entertaining, and you just don’t want to deal with a fussy entree, this is also your new go-to. Couple it with Southwestern Black Bean Sufrito, some Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice, and a Classic or Peach Margarita and await your oohs-and-aws.
- 1 pound about 12-14 tamales of your liking
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups unsalted beef broth
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotles in adobo
- 1 tablespoon TAK's Tex-Mex Spice Blend
- 4 slices 3 ounces of American cheese
If the tamales are frozen, set out about 20-30 minutes before cooking. Have ready a large pot (preferably one just an inch or so taller than an upright tamale) and a fitted a steamer basket. Fill the pot with just enough water so that it comes up just below the steamer basket.
Place the steamer basket in the pot, line the basket with tamales, placing them wrapped-side down, standing in the basket, if possible. Transfer the pot to the stovetop and place over medium-low heat. Cover and steam for 15-18 minutes, or until tamales are warmed through. Do not leave covered or tamales will continue to steam and become mushy.
In the meantime, place a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and as soon as it has melted, sprinkle over the flour. Whisk until a paste has formed and stir for 1-2 minutes more.
Begin adding the beef broth a splash at a time, whisking well after each addition, until it resembles a pudding-like consistency. Once this consistency has been achieved, it is fine to begin streaming in the broth, whisking all the while. Allow the mixture to simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the adobo sauce, spice blend and American cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted and remove from the heat. Unwrap the tamales, top with the chipotle cheese sauce, serve and enjoy.
Would pair well with: