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This fun holiday twist on my favorite Tex-Mex food will bring your entire family to the table. These Turkey Dinner Tamales are one of my new go-to meals to make during the holidays.
If you know me, then you know that I am a Texas girl through and through. Even though I grew up overseas, Texas has always been a big part of who I am, and I am proud to call this my home. One of the things I love the most about Texas is the Mexican culture that is so prominent here. It has influenced me in so many areas of my life! Not only do I love their food (there’s nothing quite as heartwarming or satisfying as a plate of enchiladas, taquitos, or tamales with a big side of rice and beans), but it has given me the opportunity to do what I love to do. Being able to teach in Spanish is something I am thankful for every day, because I get to use the language I love to mold and grow the minds of some precious 9 year olds. The Mexican influence in Texas has also played a big role in the foods I make at home. Rarely does a week go by where we don’t have something Tex-Mex inspired. So as I was thinking of new holiday recipes to make, naturally Tex-Mex came to mind.
One of my family’s traditions every Christmas Eve is to eat a tasty dinner of tamales and chili after our candlelight service at church. This year I decided to take that tradition and meld it with the typical holiday foods you see this time of year. After some brainstorming, I decided on what has now become my new favorite holiday food: turkey tamales with chipotle cranberry sauce. The turkey was slow roasted with fresh herbs, carrots and onions, and the tamale masa was made to mimic stuffing, with pieces of dried out bread, more fresh herbs and corn masa. As for the cranberry sauce… that stuff is delicious! Just 4 ingredients and bursting with flavor- it was definitely the star of the meal.
To make these tamales, I used La Morena® products that I found at my local La Michoacana grocery store. I love using La Morena® for my Tex-Mex recipes, because I know they use high quality ingredients that are full of flavor and will bring my dish to the next level. For this recipe, I used La Morena® Sliced Jalapeños in the turkey filling and La Morena® Chipotle Peppers in Adobo for the cranberry sauce. These tamales were a fun twist on one of my family’s favorite foods, and got two thumbs up from all of my taste testers! This is definitely going on my list of recipes to make during the holidays, and you betcha it’s a fun way to use leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey.
Turkey Dinner Tamales with Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
- Whole turkey breast (mine was about 7 lbs)
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered and separated
- 1 green apple
- 4 sprigs of parsley
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 5 sage leaves
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- Lemon Pepper
- Chicken broth
- 1 can of La Morena® Sliced Jalapeños
- Juice from roasting pan
- 2 cups corn flour
- 1 cup dried out bread, cut in 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tsp sage, finely chopped
- 2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 20 corn husks
- 1 bag cranberries
- Juice from 3 oranges
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp chipotle "sauce" (made from La Morena® Chipotle Peppers in Adobo)
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- In a roasting pan or dutch oven, place most of the carrots, orange and onion along the bottom. Place a few sprigs of the parsley, rosemary and thyme on top of the veggies, along with some sage leaves.
- Put the turkey breast on top (breast side down), then stuff with the apple, and the rest of the carrots and onion.
- Pour about 2 cups of the chicken broth into the pan (I also made sure to coat the turkey in broth and poured a little inside of the cavity).
- Finely chop about 2 Tbsp each of the parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped fresh herbs, lemon pepper and salt. Rub this mixture along the outside of the turkey.
- Slow roast the turkey for 3-4 hours, until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast reads 165F. Remove from the oven, and let the turkey rest on a cutting board for at least 30 minutes.
- Once it has rested, remove the skin and carve the turkey. Place the breast meat in a large bowl and shred. My trick is to use a hand held blender- it shreds the meat in less than a minute.
- Dice about 1/4 cup (or more if you'd like!) of the La Morena® Sliced Jalapeños, and 1/2 cup of the onions from the bottom of the roasting pan. In a medium sized skillet, heat some olive oil and cook the jalapeños and onions until fragrant.
- Add the peppers and onion to the turkey along with 1/2-1 cup of the juice from the roasting pan. Mix it all together and set to the side.
- In a large bowl, mix together the corn flour, chopped bread, baking powder, fresh herbs and seasonings.
- Add the chicken broth and mix throughly with your hands until it has formed a soft dough (you can add a little more chicken broth if the mixture is too dry).
- In a small bowl, whip the shortening until it's nice and fluffy. Add to the masa mixture and continue beating the batter until it is smooth and slightly sticky.
- Set aside.
- Soak the corn husks in water to soften them. While soaking, pour some water into a large pot with a steamer basket and simmer.
- Drain the corn husks, then place one on a cutting board.
- Spread the masa evenly over the top half of the corn husk, then add about a tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center.
- Close the husk by rolling the tamale and folding the end upwards. Tie off with a thin strip of corn husk if needed.
- Place in the steamer and cover with a damp towel. Steam for about 1 hour, or until the masa is soft and spongy.
- In a single serve blender cup, blend together 1/4 cup of the La Morena® Chipotle Peppers in Adobo until it becomes a smooth "sauce".
- In a medium sauce pan mix together the cranberries, orange juice and zest, sugar and the blended chipotles.
- Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and you have a beautiful looking sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the cranberry sauce to cool. As it cools it will thicken into the perfect topping for your tamale!
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions below:
Have you ever added an interesting twist to one of your favorite recipes?
What is your favorite holiday food?