Thanksgiving Tamales with Chipolte Cranberry Sauce

I love Thanksgiving the same was Bob Belcher loves Thanksgiving. Here is a way to combine traditional Thanksgiving flavors into a tamale. So good they will make you mad you haven’t found them before.


Soak the corn husks in water for about 30 minutes to soften them. Prepare the rest of the ingredients while the husks soak.


Caramelized Onions

2 large white onions

4 T butter

1 T thyme leaves

1/3 c sweet vermouth

1 T salt

Slice onion in half and then into very thin slices.

Heat the butter in a large skillet. When melted, add the onions and saute over medium heat until the onions start to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the thyme leaves, salt and vermouth. Cook until most of the vermouth is cooked off, about another 5 minutes.

Add one lb of shredded, cooked turkey to the onions. This can be leftovers from a dinner, a breast or leg you cooked separately, or a precooked turkey breast you can buy at many grocery stores in November. Stir well to mix. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Masa Preparation

4 c instant harina masa

4 T baking powder

4 T ground sage

2 c cooked sweet potato

2/3 c Crisco or lard

1 c chicken or turkey stock

2 t salt

2 t ground black pepper


Place the masa, baking powder and the spices in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until everything is fully incorporated. Add the cooked and peeled sweet potato and mix well. Add the Crisco or lard one tablespoon at a time while the mixer is running. Add the stock and mix well.


Drain the husks. Place one husk, wide end facing you, on the prep surface. Smear about 1/3 cup of the prepared masa in a rectangle shape of half the husk. Add 2-3 tablespoons of filling on the masa. Roll the husk as you would an eggroll or burrito. Tie the husk closed with more husk or kitchen string.


In a large pot, place a steamer basket on the bottom and fill with about 2 inches of water. Stack the tamales upright and cover the top with more husks. Add a tight lid. Steam for an hour, checking about 30 minutes through to make sure there is still water in the pot.

Serve warm.


Cranberry Sauce

I serve these with a chipolte-cranberry sauce.


4 c fresh cranberries

2 c water

2 c granulated sugar

zest of one orange

1 chipolte in adobo, chopped finely


Place all ingredients in a sauce pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to keep the sauce at a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and place in a glass bowl. Chill.


Cook’s Note:

If you don’t have cooked sweet potatoes sitting around, you can microwave one in about five minutes. A potato weighting 1/2 to 3/4 pound will give you about 2 c of filling.

#Thanksgiving #tamales #turkey #cranberry #onions #dinner #leftovers



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