Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 16, 2008 07:27 PM

Tamale Sauce

Thanks to some hounds on this site, I've found a couple of places to buy tamales for Christmas Eve. I now need a recipe for a mild sauce for them. Appreciate any ideas.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. No need to buy your tamales. They're not that difficult to make and if you set up a family group to assemble them it's a fun way to spend time with family members.
    But, if you only need to make a sauce, you might try this:

    2 1/2 cups beef stock
    1 1/2 cups water
    2 Tbsp melted shortening or lard
    1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 large garlic clove, chopped VERY fine
    1 Tbsp rendered bacon fat
    2 tsp chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon oregano
    1 tablespoon flour (Masa Harina if you have it)

    Set aside four Tbsp (1/4 cup) of the beef stock
    Combine the remaining beef stock and water in 2 quart sauce pan. Bring this mixture to a simmer over low heat - but do allow to reach rapid boil.
    Sauté the onion in the melted shortening over medium/low heat until opaque. Add garlic, lower the heat, and continue cooking for about five minutes. Add the bacon fat and the spices and stir to combine.
    Add this to the simmering beef stock and stir well.
    Simmer, uncovered, to reduce by about 20% (about 30 minutes)
    Mix the flour with 4 Tbsp of beef stock and stir this into the simmering sauce. Stir continuously as the sauce thickens. Continue to simmer 5 - 7 minutes.
    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Thanks for the recipe though I'm not a virgin to tamale making. I just won't take the time to do this any more. I've never purchased them, but I going to give it a try this year since I'll be gone until the 22nd.

    2. Here's something cool for you:
      16 oz sour cream
      bunch of cilantro (you can use more of the stemmy part if you wanna garnish with the leaves)
      few chipotles in adobo (amount of peppers will make the heat vary) + some sauce from the can
      Juice of a lime
      Salt to taste
      pepper to taste
      fresh garlic to taste
      mabe some ancho powder to taste
      put it all in a blender, and puree it. Add water if the lime juice doesn't thin it out enough.
      The s. cream kinda cancels / mellows out the heat, but leaves the smokiness of the chipotles. you end up with a creamy/smoky/tangy type sauce with a backbone of mellow heat. This one will be a "keeper" for you for all foods Mexican, trust me.

      5 Replies
        1. re: bubbles4me

          This is one of very few horn tooting sauces in my repertoire. I absosmurfly love it.

        2. re: gordeaux

          Wow, thanks. It is not at all what I expected. I guess I was thinking of a chili based red sauce type of thing. Is this more for chicken based Mexican or do you use it on beef too? How long can I keep it in the fridge?
          Anyway your "horn tooting" sauce on its way to my recipe database.

          1. re: Gail

            Use it on anything you'd use sour cream on.
            I'd only keep it in the fridge for a few days. I have no idea what thre lime juice does to the s cream over a prolonged period of time.

            For tamales, I use some of this along with some simple salsas. If you have a squeeze bottle with a nozzle (or any variation thereof) For a fancy presentation of tamales, enchiladas, or even tacos (and their cousins like huaraches, sopes, tostadas et al,) cover the plate with a criss cross pattern of the stuff.

            1. re: gordeaux

              You can laugh, but I put ketchup on tamales. I don’t know why...but im comforted by the fact that all of my mexican friends do the same :)