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Pumpkin Tamales Filled with Shredded
Beef and California Raisins

Pumpkin Tamales

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



  • 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
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water


  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Remove beef from broth and let rest for 10 minutes; reserving broth.
  4. Shred beef, discarding excess fat.
  5. In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots and celery; cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in shredded beef and raisins along with 1 cup of reserved broth. Heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and cool completely.
  8. Tamales: Measure masa harina, baking powder, coriander and salt into mixing bowl; mix well.
  9. Beat in pumpkin and shortening.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. To serve: Arrange tamales on a platter and serve while still very hot.

Yield: 16 tamales

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories 710 (53% from fat); Total Fat 43g (sat 13g, mono 20g, poly 6g, trans 3g ); Cholesterol 80mg; Protein 28g; Carbohydrate 58g; (Dietary Fiber 7g; Sugars 18g; );  Iron 5mg; Sodium 1010mg; Calcium 130mg; Potassium 694mg

By Chef Pilar Sanchez

Recipe and photo credit (used with permission): California Raisin Marketing Board