Kosher and Halal Mole-Rubbed Brisket Tamales
This kosher, halal-friendly, gluten-free recipe for homemade tamales is filled with mole-spiced braised brisket.
- Serves: 13 persons
- For the Brisket:
- 2 ½to 3-pound beef brisket (preferably second cut)
- ¼cup dark brown sugar
- 2tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1tablespoon ancho chili powder (or smoked paprika)
- 2teaspoons cumin
- 1teaspoon oregano
- ½teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1medium yellow onion (peeled and trimmed)
- 6cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
- 1cup dry red wine (or semi-sweet)
- ½cup tomato paste
- 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- For the Masa:
- 1cup extra virgin olive oil (or non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, such as Spectrum Organic)
- 3 ½cups masa harina (instant corn masa, such as Maseca or P.A.N.)
- 1 ½teaspoons baking powder
- ½teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
- 2 ¼cups vegetable broth (or chicken stock)
- To Assemble the Tamales:
- 22to 26 dried corn husks
Step 1Gather the ingredients.
Step 2First, make the brisket: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the brisket on a large plate. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, paprika, ancho chili powder or smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Rub the spices all over the surface of the brisket.
Step 3Place half of the onions in a roasting pan. Add the brisket and top with the remaining onions and the garlic. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the wine, tomato paste, and olive oil. Pour over the brisket. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours.
Step 4Carefully transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Cut across the grain into slices 1/4-inch or thinner. Place the brisket back in the pan, submerging it as much as possible in the sauce. Cover and return to the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer, or until the meat is fork-tender. (If you are using a leaner first cut brisket or grass-fed meat , you may need to cook it even longer. Check in 30-minute intervals until the meat is easy to shred with a fork.)
Step 5Prepare the corn husks: When the brisket is nearly done, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn husks, pushing them down with a spoon to submerge. Remove from the heat and leave the husks in the water for at least 30 minutes, or until they are pliable.
Step 6Make the masa: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the masa harina and oil on medium speed for 2 minutes. (If you are using shortening instead of oil, beat it for a couple of minutes before adding the masa). Add the baking powder and salt, and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes, or until well incorporated. Slowly add the broth, and continue beating for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the masa is fluffy and pulls away easily from the side of the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Step 7Shred the beef: When the brisket is done, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Using two forks, shred the meat. (If you are making the brisket in advance, shred it, cover and refrigerate up to two days before proceeding with Step 4, above).
Step 8Assemble the tamales: Drain the corn husks and pat dry. Tear thin strips from any very small, large or torn husks to use as ties. Hold a husk with the pointed end facing you. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of masa into the husk and spread it into a 3 x 4-inch rectangle, leaving at least a 1 1/2-inch border at the top and bottom of the husk and a 1-inch border on the sides.
Step 9Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the brisket filling down the center of the masa. Pull up the sides of the corn husk to help enclose the filling in the masa. Fold over one long side of the husk, pull up the bottom, then fold over the other side. Take one of the thin strips of husk and tie it around the tamal to secure. Set aside. Continue assembling tamales with the remaining husks, masa, and brisket. At this point, you can either steam the tamales or place them in zip-top freezer bags and freeze for up to 1 month. (If freezing, do not defrost before steaming.)
Step 10Steam the tamales: Add at least 2 to 3 inches of water to the bottom of a stock pot fitted with a steamer insert, making sure that the water level is beneath the insert and won't touch the tamales. Place the tamales open side up in the basket. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover with a tea towel-wrapped lid. Steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, adding more water if the pot begins to run dry. Open a tamale after 45 minutes to check for doneness—when the masa is firm and no longer sticks to the husk, the tamales are ready.