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Family Central: Easy, Homemade Shrimp Tamales

There’s a reason a lot of people only make tamales for special occasions, when there are plenty of family members or friends around to help: They can be a lot of work. Stewing meat for hours to make the filling, soaking the corn husks, making the masa shells; it can become an all-day project.

But my recipe for shrimp tamales is different. Because you use quick-cooking shrimp, the filling only takes minutes, not hours on the stove.  Try them this weekend for your Super Bowl party, or serve them up for Mardi Gras in a couple weeks.

And, if you use a tamale kit like the ones we carry from Melissa’s, you can have your tamales ready in just a couple hours. (The Melissa’s kits contain everything except the filling, including instructions, pre-soaked corn husks for wrapping, and a corn masa mix that just needs water.)

Shrimp Tamale Filling
Fills 12 tamales

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 lb 50-60 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup celery, finely diced
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup white onion, finely diced
1 tbs fresh garlic puree (SEE NOTE)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbs FRESH Creole seasoning
1 tsp cumin
sea salt, to taste

Puree shrimp by pulsing in a food processor. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a thick-bottomed sauté pan over medium/high heat. Add shrimp, celery, red bell pepper, white onion, garlic and cilantro. Stir. Add Creole seasoning and cumin. Sauté until shrimp are almost cooked through; then deglaze pan with lime juice and cook 1 minute more. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste. Place filling in refrigerator to cool completely before stuffing tamales.

NOTE: To make garlic puree, simply peel fresh garlic cloves and puree in food processor.