BBB (Beef, Broccoli, Beet) Tamales with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Another installment from @theprimalfocus

If you have ever had tamales, you can agree that they are some of the best street food snacks of all time. Piping hot spicy meats wrapped up in soft corn dumplings. My goodness! Yum. It takes me back to living in the Yucatan and having little abuelitas setting up their wagons and carts in the early afternoon heat with giant stainless steel makeshift steamers on the street corners. The pots are piping that gorgeous sweet corn and stewed meat scent into the air, beckoning all to partake… and I did, far too often. I mean, I’m a busy gal, and it’s a handheld meal! My only complaint is that it was never the meat to corn ratio I would prefer (mostly corn… it’s cheaper) and that there is rarely a vegetable in sight. When I hone my inner grandma and make my own tamales, the meat is almost always spilling out, just the way I like. I also added vegetables because the Rainshadow CSA always has your fridge full of all sorts of weird bits and bobs. Even familiar produce gets boring if you make it the same way every time, so I set out to incorporate what I had on hand to really beef up the meal… well, without beef. It turned out pretty fantastic, so without further ado, here are beef broccoli beet tamales with roasted tomatillo salsa. I hope you enjoy!

BBB (beef, broccoli, beet) Tamales with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

(serves 8)


Tamale Dough:

  • 1 package (16oz) corn husks
  • 3 cups warm bone broth (or chicken or beef stock… whatever)
  • 4 cups masa harina for tamales
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups warm Rainshadow lard (or butter or shortening)
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Smoked salt to taste
  • Juice of one lime

Tamale Filling:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large beet, chopped to small bite size pieces
  • 1 medium head broccoli chopped to bite size pieces
  • 1 lb tomatoes, diced (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp mexican oregano
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tomatillo Salsa:

  • 2 hatch chilies
  • 1 poblano or pasilla chilli
  • 2 purple cayenne chillies
  • 1 lb tomatillos, husks peeled
  • 1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt to taste

Optional Garnishes:

  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced tomatoes


For the Salsa:

  1. Assemble all Salsa ingredients (without lime and salt) on a sheet pan and broil on low, turning the produce as it gets a mild char.

  2. When char is present on all sides, remove from the oven and pour it all in a blender. Add the lime and salt and puree until smooth, but still with visible color variation.

For the Dough:

  1. In a large bowl, soak corn husks in warm water until soft and pliable.

  2. In a separate large bowl, first add the baking powder to the masa and mix well.

  3. Add all other ingredients (not the husks) and mix until it is a soft, almost spreadable dough.

For the Filling

  1. In a large skillet, add ground beef, beets, and broccoli and cook through on medium heat with a bit of high heat fat of choice, about 20 minutes.

  2. Add tomatoes and spices and simmer another 10 minutes on med-low.

  3. Set aside to cool.

For the Tamales

  1. Drain the water from the corn husks

  2. Take one husk and pat a small ball of dough flat on the wide part of the husk

  3. Add enough filling to be able to fold the dough over with the husk and seal it in (or if you are like me and do not give a f***, add a lot and let it spill out or whatever happens naturally.

  4. Fold the tamale up (wide sides of the triangle fold inwards toward each other, overlapping. Fold the point over the fold and rest on the seams).

To Cook

  1. I actually like to bake mine at 375F for about an hour because I like crispy bits of masa. Traditionally, you can steam them for 45-60 minutes until tender and plump

  1. Open, smother in sauce, and garnish with whatever you like.