Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tamale Skillet #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

We are still cooking our way through the Kitchen Matrix Cookbook by Mark Bittman.

This month Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla has chosen the recipes and has a Mexican theme going.  I love Mexican so that is right up my alley.

Last week we shared some salsa recipes.  I was pretty pleased with this Tomatilla and Avocado salsa that I used to top some Huevos Rancheros Cups.

This week the item we are featuring is masa.  Masa is a corn flour that has been soaked in an alkaline solution.  It is used to make tortillas, papusas, tamales, etc.   I have even used it to make dumplings for this Chicken and Dumplings with a Mexican Flair.

I was going to make some tamales.  We love tamales.  Especially these Sweet Corn Tamales  or these Chicken Tamales.  This time I thought I would make pork tamales using some of the leftover Carnitas that I will be sharing next week for Kitchen Matrix.  But then I used the leftover Carnitas to make pulled pork sandwiches, so there went that idea.

I had a pound of hamburger in the refrigerator though that needed to be used.  I didn't have any corn husks and didn't feel like running up to the store.  I looked around in my pantry and pulled out a can of black beans, a can of Rotel and a can of corn.  Time to improvise.

I combined all of those flavors in a cast iron skillet.   The meat was seasoned with taco seasoning and cooked up with onions and garlic before adding the canned vegetables.

I spread the tamale dough over the filling.  I adapted Bittman's recipe, using vegetable shortening in place of the lard. I also used vegetable broth as that was what I had on hand.

Then it is just a matter of sticking it in the oven until the top is nicely browned and the filling is piping hot.

Let it set for about 15 minutes before cutting or it will fall all apart on you.  I served mine with a dollop of sour cream.  You can use salsa, guacamole or any toppings you desire.  Or just leave it plain, it is delicious either way.  I love one pan dinners!!

Here are what the others made using Masa:

Yield: 4-6 servings

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Tamale Skillet

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 15 mins
A complete one pan dinner containing all your favorite TexMex flavors, black beans, corn, chiles, tomatoes and tamal.


1 lb. ground beef
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. taco seasoning
1 (10 oz) can tomato/chile mixture (Rotel)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
1 1/4 c. masa harina
1 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
pinch of salt
1/2 t. baking powder
6 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded


In a cast iron skillet, over med high heat, cook the ground beef with the onions and garlic until browned and crumbly.  Drain fat if necessary.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Cook and stir to coat.  Add tomato/chile mixture with juices and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Remove from heat and stir in black beans and corn.  Set aside.

Place the masa harina in a bowl and gradually stir in the vegetable broth until crumbly.  In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening salt and baking powder.  Reduce speed to low and add the masa harina mixture until combined.  Stir in the cheese.

Spread the masa harina mixture over the top of the ground beef mixture leaving  a small space between the masa harina and the skillet.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the tamal removes cleanly.  Let set for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.


You can make this spicier if you prefer by adding sliced jalapenos.  
The meat can be eliminated, replaced by a can of drained and rinsed pinto beans for a vegetarian dinner.
The cheese can be omitted from the tamal for a vegan meal.
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. My post is going to be late! Sorry. I completely blitzed on it being Monday yesterday. My life is a blur right now. Coming soon.

  2. Sorry I missed this week! I tried making the tortillas, but they would not brown! I'll be back for carnitas.
    Have you ever had tamale pie? This is very much like a dish I grew up with! Sounds delicious.

    1. I have not had tamale pie but I had heard of it. That was my inspiration for this skillet.


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