Tamal season is upon us everyone! I don’t know about you, but I must put on a solid 5 lbs in the month of December just on tamal consumption alone. There are so many ways to make great tamales and the amount of filling recipes out there are endless. I like to think of tamales as tacos. The masa makes for the perfect soft and decadent vehicle to get creative. I had so much fun creating this recipe and have served it at both my Christmas PJ party and Vision Board Posada. I will have to say that they were the hit of the party. The filing recipe is quick and super easy to make. I will say that if you have an extra 20 minutes to spare, feel free to roast the tomatillos before putting them in the blender for an extra sweet and smoky flavor. But trust me, the recipe is still super delish just the way it is. Also, if you love the spice, feel free to add a serrano pepper in there. I opted for Tabasco’s green salsa because of its mild flavor. My son who is 3 LOVED them. Also, sometimes jalapeños can be a shot in the dart on the spice level, so using a sauce like Tabasco’s allows you to balance the acidity and heat perfectly. Feel free to buy already made tamal masa. you can find them at your local Latinx grocer (if you live in LA, Vallarta and Northgate are my faves). I can’t wait to see your recreations of this. Don’t forget to tag me on the gram!
Makes 15 tamales
1 lb Tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
½ cup onion, roughly chopped
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled + 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup Tabasco Green Pepper sauce
1/4 cup cilantro
8 oz chicken broth
1 tsp sea salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups cooked turkey, shredded (or rotisserie chicken)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin, ground
2 tablespoons water
2 Jalapenos, seeded and julienned
1 ½ lbs Masa prepared for tamales
15 dried corn husks
Soak corn husk leaves for about 10 minutes in hot water until soft and pliable. You can use a plate or a mortar stone to weight them down.
To prepare your filling:
In a blender, put tomatillos, onion, 3 whole garlic cloves, tabasco green sauce, cilantro, chicken broth and sea salt. Blend until smooth. Reserve.
In a mortar, place the oregano, cumin, garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of water. Grind until you have a smooth paste consistency. Set aside.
Heat oil on a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the spice mixture from the mortar until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Add the shredded turkey and combine with the mixture, stirring constantly until the turkey is well coated, about 5 minutes. Pour green salsa over turkey and add julienned jalapeños. Raise the heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally to slightly reduce the sauce, about 20 minutes. Season with ½ tsp salt or adjust to taste. Remove from heat.
To fill tamales:
Pat dry cornhusks. Set one cornhusk down at a time, smoother side up and spread about ⅓ cup of the prepared masa on each husk, spread vertically with a spoon or a masa spreader. Fill up the left and right side of the husk leaving about an inch, at top and bottom. Scoop about ¼ cup of the filling and place it in the middle of the husk. Bring sides of the husk to meet over each other across and then fold the bottom part over the tamal.
Carefully place the tamales in a tamal steamer open side up, cover the tamales tightly with a kitchen towel to create steam and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave them covered for about 1 hour to allow the tamales to set.