These Slow Cooker Cooker Beef Tamale Bowls are everything you love about tamales, without all the work. Basically, the perfect dinner for the busy but hungry (i.e. Me!)
It’s for good reason–they’re convenient, delicious, comforting, all-in-one meals (just like casseroles). They have the added benefits of fresh/whole ingredients (rather than cream-of-something soup), and they’re so easy to customize, which is great when you’re feeding a crowd or a family.
I’m also a huge fan of tamales. We can get such amazing ones locally here in the desert, and I really would love to master making them myself. But today is not that day. So, instead, I mixed together a quick red sauce and added some beef to my slow cooker. A few hours later, all I have to do is cook some polenta to stand in for the masa (which takes less than 10 minutes) and add a few fresh toppings (Read: All The Guacamole!) and call it a day.
The sauce is certainly not as authentic as anything made from dried chiles, but it’s flavorful and it has 3 ingredients, so… #winning. Chipotle Chili Powder might not be something you keep in your kitchen, but it’s one of my favorite spices for adding a little smoky spice to a dish. A little goes a LONG way, so start small and add as you go.
NOTES ON THE RECIPE:
If you don’t have chipotle chili powder, you can mince up 1/2 a chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce and use it instead.
Too spicy? If you accidentally made your sauce hotter than you meant to (I’ve been there), my firsts suggestion is to pile your bowl high with guacamole, lettuce, and tomatoes to take the edge off. But, if you want to take the sauce down a spicy notch, just add a little brown sugar (or honey) or your sauce to temper the heat.
The BEST slow cooker. I can’t say enough good things about my slow cooker. If you’re in the market, this is my all-time favorite one. It’s programmable and has a lid clip so you’ll never have any sloshes or spills if you’re transporting chili to a cook-off or dinner to a potluck.
A few other favorite “meal in a bowl” recipes…
- Chipotle Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls
- Island Rice Bowls with Coconut Ginger Rice
- Enchilada Quinoa Bowls
- 5 Fresh Smoothie Bowls to Make Right Now