Skillet tamales disappear quickly

Ground Beef Skillet Tamales Recipe

November 5, 2014 by Michelle

Easy weeknight ground beef tamale skillet recipe - gluten free, too!

Tonight for dinner, I wasn’t very inspired. Like… I knew I had ground beef in the fridge I should use but nothing sounded good to me. That’s never a good sign. Fortunately, there’s Google, even when it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to be. When you Google “creative weeknight ground beef recipes” you’d be surprised by how many non ground beef recipes appear. That’s ok though because the photos I see can still (finally) inspire me to make something that actually sounds appealing to me. When I saw a skillet that had tamales in it (granted, chicken tamales), I knew I had a winner. Regular tamales would take way too much time (as amazing as my chicken tamales recipe is), but faking them in a skillet? Totally what I did with my unstuffed cabbage rolls and totally what I just did to make skillet tamales.

The best part about what I made is that it all came from ingredients I had on hand, though I wish I’d thought to add a little corn (maybe a cup or cup and a half) to the ground beef mixture to give it a little more texture, but since Little Miss asked if I would make it again tomorrow and Mister Man had a serving before heading to basketball practice then asked if he could, pretty please, have more when he got home, I think I’ll have my chance. Just maybe not tomorrow.

Bonus? Since this recipe is both gluten free and dairy free, I’m adding it to my list of recipes I can make when we have friends over with dietary restrictions. So many of my friends don’t want to impose on me because they’re gluten free. I keep explaining that there are plenty of naturally gluten free meals I can make that are easy and tasty. And this one proves it!

Skillet tamales disappear quickly

I loved that this was easy and came together fairly quickly. Once I popped it in the oven, I was available for homework help and general audience for all the things that happened today at school that the wee ones couldn’t wait to share. Because sometimes they actually do share about their day. Like the fact that one of the kids in Little Miss’s class fell asleep at the opera today.

Granted, this isn’t the prettiest dish I’ve ever made, but I think that often comfort food isn’t beautiful on the plate. It’s beautiful in your heart and in your tummy. This recipe is delicious and could so easily be adapted for your personal tastes – and spice preferences – including what you happen to have on hand at the time. But right now there’s less than a quarter of our skillet left. And the wee ones are already negotiating over who gets to take how much for lunch at school tomorrow. So who cares that it isn’t beautiful?

Dinner doesn't have to be pretty to be delicious

Ok ok ok. So I could have made this in the mini cast iron skillets that I’ve been coveting and added the avocado on top after baking, and it would have been gorgeous. But really all I’m doing now is justifying my purchase of more kitchen gadgets.

While I made this with ground beef, you could easily make it with shredded roasted or rotisserie chicken, as well. You may need to increase the amount of broth you use in the meat mixture then to keep it from drying out, but it would be yummy!

Skillet Tamales Recipe

Ingredients:
For the filling
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 t cumin
2 t taco seasoning (or seasoned salt, in a pinch)
1/4 c adobo sauce
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, sliced
1-2 c frozen corn
1/2 c chicken broth
For the masa
1 c chicken broth, heated to steaming
1 1/4 c masa flour
1/3 c lard
1-2 T adobo sauce
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 avocado or sour cream, as desired

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet, brown your beef, using a spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks. Season the beef with the taco seasoning and cumin. While this is cooking, heat 1 cup of the chicken broth in a pot until it is steaming and set aside.

As your meat browns, chop your tomatoes. Prep your cilantro by chopping it and your green onion by slicing it (the green and white parts) at the same time.

Once your meat has browned, drain it as needed. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth (the part you didn’t heat), tomatoes, and adobo sauce and stir. Reduce your heat to low, and prepare your masa dough.

In a bowl, mix together the masa flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour in your hot broth and mix. Add the lard and adobo sauce, then beat until fluffy. Your masa should hold together when squeeze but still be fairly wet. Add more chicken broth if needed and stir again.

Turn the heat off your meat filling and add the cilantro, green onion, and corn. Stir to combine, then add the masa. Scoop the masa onto your skillet in dollops. Using your fingers, carefully spread it out across the top and squeeze the gaps together carefully. It does not need to be perfect.

Cover with tin foil so the mixture steams and bake for twenty minutes at 350 degrees. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking uncovered for another 10 minutes, until the masa is cooked through.

Remove and let cool for a few minutes before serving so that it sets up. Serve with avocado or sour cream, as desired.

So what’s your favorite “it takes forever to cook” recipe that you’ve adapted for weeknight use?

Ground Beef Skillet Tamales

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ground Beef Skillet Tamales

An easy weeknight dinner that tastes like you put way more effort into it. This gluten free recipe takes delicious tamales that require a lot of time and effort and simplifies them into a fun and fast recipe.

Ingredients

    For the filling
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2 t taco seasoning (or seasoned salt, in a pinch)
  • 1/4 c adobo sauce
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1-2 c frozen corn
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • For the masa
  • 1 c chicken broth, heated to steaming
  • 1 1/4 c masa flour
  • 1/3 c lard
  • 1-2 T adobo sauce
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 avocado or sour cream, as desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, brown your beef, using a spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks. Season the beef with the taco seasoning and cumin. While this is cooking, heat 1 cup of the chicken broth in a pot until it is steaming and set aside.
  3. As your meat browns, chop your tomatoes. Prep your cilantro by chopping it and your green onion by slicing it (the green and white parts) at the same time.
  4. Once your meat has browned, drain it as needed. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth (the part you didn't heat), tomatoes, and adobo sauce and stir. Reduce your heat to low, and prepare your masa dough.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the masa flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour in your hot broth and mix. Add the lard and adobo sauce, then beat until fluffy. Your masa should hold together when squeeze but still be fairly wet. Add more chicken broth if needed and stir again.
  6. Turn the heat off your meat filling and add the cilantro, green onion, and corn. Stir to combine, then add the masa. Scoop the masa onto your skillet in dollops. Using your fingers, carefully spread it out across the top and squeeze the gaps together carefully. It does not need to be perfect.
  7. Cover with tin foil so the mixture steams and bake for twenty minutes at 350 degrees. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking uncovered for another 10 minutes, until the masa is cooked through.
  8. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before serving so that it sets up. Serve with avocado or sour cream, as desired.

Notes

While I made this with ground beef, you could easily make it with shredded roasted or rotisserie chicken, as well. You may need to increase the amount of broth you use in the meat mixture then to keep it from drying out, but it would be yummy!

https://www.honestandtruly.com/ground-beef-skillet-tamales-recipe/

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    Comments

  • Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons


    This does look like comfort food. One of my favorite meals as a kid was tamale pie and I haven’t thought of it in years. Your recipe is on my radar to make this week.

  • Sunny


    Yum! I totally need to try this, my grandma made a tamale pie that I always loved. This one sound delicious and I will sooo try it soon!

    • Michelle


      Thanks, Sunny! We really enjoyed it. Two nights in a row, in fact. I love that it’s quick and easy and still has the majority of the tamale flavor. Mmmmm tamales.

  • Tammy @ creativekkids


    I’ve never made tamales before. Thanks for the recipe! I’m finally getting around to pinning the last couple of posts from the Tasty Tuesdays party a couple of weeks ago! Sorry I am so late!

  • Lisa


    Looks wonderful I am using the filling for corn tortilla wraps without adobo sauce. Adobo sauce is not gluten free it has wheat flour. Did you fined it gluten free?
    Thank you

    • Michelle


      The La Morena chipotles in adobo sauce do not have wheat flour – or at least it isn’t listed in the ingredients. It is chipotle peppers, water, tomatoes, vinegar, soybean oil, salt, garlic, onions, and (the dreaded) spices. BUT it’s definitely worth contacting them to confirm that it truly is gluten free. Crossing my fingers for you!

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