Turkey Tamales with Fresh Cranberry Salsa       

Turkey Tamale

These tamales are the perfect dish for spicing up your Thanksgiving leftovers. Turn leftover dark turkey meat, orange yams, and caramelized onion into light fluffy tamales topped with a crisp cranberry salsa.

Makes 10 to 12 tamales

1 package dried corn husks
1 cup richly flavored chicken stock, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds ground masa for tamales, chilled
1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
1 pound orange yams, cut into 1/2-inch dice, seared in butter until lightly golden and fork tender, chilled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, julienned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 roasted turkey thighs, shredded, about 1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fresh Cranberry Salsa (see recipe), for serving

Soak the dried corn husks in hot water, weighted with a plate to keep husks submerged, 2 hours or overnight.

Mix together chicken stock, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Place the masa in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle and beat at medium speed until light in texture, 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock mixture, while beating continuously at medium-high speed. Turn the mixer speed up to medium high and add the lard or vegetable shortening, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating and scraping down the bowl until mixture is light and fluffy, about 15 minutes total. Test for lightness by dropping one tablespoon of masa into ice water: If it floats, the mixture is light enough. If not, continue beating at high speed a few minutes longer.  Gently fold in the chilled, seared, diced yams.

Meanwhile, heat butter over medium heat in a sauté pan and add julienned onion and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook stirring often until limp and slightly golden.  Add shredded turkey and parsley, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Cool to room temperature.

To make the tamales, spread 1 large or 2 small corn husks on a counter, with the narrow end pointing away from you. Leaving 2 inches bare at the top, spread about 4 tablespoons of the masa mixture over the center and one side of husk. Top with turkey mixture. Fold the side covered with masa over to enclose the filling and fold over the bare side of the husk.  Fold the top down and place on a square of foil. Wrap to enclose. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

To cook, line a steamer with corn husks and fill with tamales. Steam over simmering water for 1 hour, or until the husks just pull away from the masa without sticking. Unwrap tamales and serve hot topped with Fresh Cranberry Salsa.


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