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An Easier Way to Homemade Tamales: Slow-Cooker Beef Tamale Bowls

For a customizable meal that's practically effortless to make, these saucy steak bowls are just the ticket. Your family will love piling them high with their favorite toppings!
By Tieghan Gerard


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I’ll never forget the day I tried to make tamales from scratch. I was hosting a group of twenty-plus, and after spending an entire day slaving and stressing, I wound up with a giant mess and a slew of so-so tamales. It was a major fail. Not long after that, I started experimenting with tamale bowls. They wound up having all the flavors of tamales I love, minus the nit-picky assembly. Best part is the whole meal takes next to no time to prepare. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, it is. Let me show you how it’s done! 

To begin, gather your ingredients—you’ll find an exact list in the recipe below.

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Nestle your flank steak to the liner of your slow cooker. Sprinkle a packet of Old El Paso hot & spicy taco seasoning over the steak, then top it with a can of Old El Paso enchilada sauce.

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Add the diced onion and bell pepper slices. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.

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After the allotted time has passed, carefully remove the steak from the slow cooker and shred with two forks on a cutting board.

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Before you add the steak back to the slow cooker, separate the peppers and onions and place them on a plate. So juicy!

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Stir the steak back into the sauce, add the drained can of black beans and then turn your slow cooker to low.

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Prepare the cheesy polenta (directions are in the recipe below!) and ready your toppings.

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To assemble your tamale bowls, start by adding a generous cup of cheesy polenta to a shallow bowl.

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Top the polenta with shredded beef, bell peppers and onions. Then comes the best part—picking your toppings! Add dollops of mashed avocado, a sprinkling of Mexican cheese blend (or cojita), chopped cilantro, crushed tortilla chips or a spritz of lime. Feel free to experiment adding whatever other toppings your family enjoys!

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