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Mayan Turkey Tamales

Friday, 23 September 2011


This recipe is from the Legacy Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Archaeological Research.


At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
Main Course
24 tamales

4 cups turkey broth
6 2/3 cups masa harina
1/3 cup solid turkey fat
6 2/3 cup shredded cooked turkey
1 teaspoon achiote
Salt, to taste
1 cup tomato, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs of epazote (optional)
Habanero chile, to taste, minced

Corn husks, soaked for an hour in hot water to soften


Boil the broth with 1/2 teaspoon achiote, a dash of salt, and a little bit of the masa harina for thickening. This broth will moisten the tamales. For the tamale dough, mix the masa with the turkey fat, salt, and achiote. Put some of this corn dough on top of a corn husk and flatten it out. Mound on top of the dough a scant 1/3-cup of turkey, and bathe the meat with a spoonful of broth. Alternate layers of onion, tomato, chile, and epazote, and bathe with a bit more broth.

Using the edges of the corn husk to help you, wrap the dough around the filling and seal it. Tie the corn husk into a tight packet, using thin strips of husks for string on either end. Repeat until you have the desired number of tamales. To cook, place the tamales in a steamer unit over a pot of simmering water. Cook until cooked through – about 15 minutes.


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