Tamale. Tamale. I love ya’ tamale. Only, you know, today is tamale. And tamale is today. Oh, who am I tryin’ to kid? I love tamales today. And every day. And tomorrow. And you will too… especially making them at home. This is a great recipe to make with friends or family. It is the social Mexican equivalent of snapping beans on the front porch in rocking chairs.
Soak 20 large corn husks in water (there are usually about 40-50 to a bag sold in grocery stores). Place a clean plate or tray upon them to keep them from floating out of the water.
Ground Turkey Tamale Filling:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 20 ounces ground turkey
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano powder
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- Sea salt
- Coarse ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon leaves from 2 sprigs fresh oregano, minced
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add diced onions and fry until translucent then add ground turkey. Stir in chili powder, garlic powder, oregano powder, cumin, chipotle powder and plenty of salt & pepper. Cook until done then set aside.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 – 5 cups chicken stock and/or water
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Seas salt
- Coarse ground pepper
Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk continually while cooking for a couple of minutes. Whisk in chili powder and then pour in 4 cups of chicken stock and/or water. The sauce will thicken as it heats. Evaluate thickness of the sauce and add 1 more cup of water or broth if desired. Cook down for a few minutes again and then turn heat to low. Stir in remaining ingredients. If you don’t think the sauce is flavorful enough, it probably needs a bit more salt. Add salt just until you experience all the wonderful flavors. Stir 2/3 of the sauce into the ground turkey set remaining sauce aside for serving.
- 2 cups masa
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
- Sea salt to taste
Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Stir well with a wooden spoon until everything is combined. Taste and stir in additional salt if needed.
Assembling the Tamales:
Place about 6 cups of water in a steaming pot and turn on high. Bring to a boil & turn heat down to medium to simmer. Don’t let the water get so high that it rises to the steaming rack as to not get the tamales wet.
Lay a softened corn husk out with the top facing away from you. Press about 2-3 tablespoons of masa dough on the upper left side. Pressing with fingers, cover about 2/3 across the husk, leaving about 2-3 inches free at the bottom of the husk. It helps to pretend you’re making it the shape of the blue corner on the American flag.
Place a line of about 2-3 tablespoons of ground turkey filling straight up & down the middle of the masa dough. Turn corn husk so the left masa edge is facing you. Roll tamale away from yourself. Fold the bottom (which has no masa dough on it) up toward the top of the tamale. Repeat and place tamales on a tray.
When all tamales are prepared, place upward on the steaming rack. Simmer for about one hour.
It is the most fun to place tamales in or on a pretty dish and serve in husks, allowing each guest to unroll their own. Of course, they will be very hot & steamy, so everyone will need to be careful. Serve with sauce and, if desired, grated cheese, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro and maybe diced tomatoes. The possibilities are limitless.
And to my friend, Roz, who recently sat with me, patiently picking cilantro leaves, let us make tamales next time and pick cilantro on the front porch together in rocking chairs. Today, tamale, or whenever you’d like to pretend we’re in an Anne of Green Gables movie – only, you know, based in Tijuana.