Pumpkin Tamales with Shredded Beef and California Raisins

  • Yield 8 servings
  • Prep 35 mins
  • Cook 220 mins

Add nutritious pumpkin to beef-filled tamales for a healthy dish.

California Raisin Marketing Board


2 pounds boneless beef chuck or shoulder
1 onion, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup California raisins
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons toasted ground coriander
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup whipped vegetable shortening
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed
16 dried corn husks, soaked in warm water


  1. Filling: Place roast in a large stockpot and add cold water to cover. Cut onion in half and add to pot. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove beef from broth and let rest for 10 minutes; reserve broth. Shred beef, discarding excess fat. In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots and celery; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in shredded beef and raisins along with 1 cup of reserved broth. Heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and cool completely.
  2. Tamales: Measure masa harina, baking powder, coriander and salt into mixing bowl; mix well. Beat in pumpkin and shortening. Slowly, add warm broth, stirring in 1/2 cup at a time until moist enough to form a ball that is wet but not too sticky. Cover with wet towel and set aside.
  3. When corn husks are soft and pliable, separate into individual pieces. Arrange 2 husks, slightly overlapping side by side, and alternating tips and stem ends to form rectangles about 9 x 7 inches. Spoon about 1/3 cup dough onto center of each corn husk; with wet fingers, spread to about 1/4-inch thick. Add about 1/4 cup shredded beef filling down center of dough. Fold long edges of husks over filling, lightly overlapping the edges. Fold ends under or twist and tie each end tightly with a narrow strip of corn husk to form a packet. Arrange the tamales in a large steamer with seam side facing up. Add water to bottom part of steamer and heat to boiling. Steam tamales for about 2 hours or until they are firm to the touch.
  4. To Serve: Arrange tamales on a platter and serve while still very hot.

Rcipe by Chef Pilar Sanchez, courtesy of the California Raisin Marketing Board