When I first thought of it, it sounded weird even to me. Back in November 2008, we were getting ready to open our doors for the first time. I wanted to do something unique for Thanksgiving. I thought, why not Turkey & Cranberries? See the full story below, the results well, they are fantastic...
It was early November 2008 when Sherry and I were preparing to open Tucson Tamale. I had the recipes for our first 5 tamales. We had the Christmas Tamales covered, but I wanted something that said 'THANKSGIVING'! I started to brainstorm this Thanksgiving Tamale.
So, naturally, my mind went to turkey. I got an 18-pound turkey, gave it a nice rub of sea salt and pepper and popped it in the oven. While it roasted, I contemplated, the masa is made of corn, cornbread makes a great stuffing, so I thought about mixing the turkey in with a mirepoix; celery, onions, and carrots. The base was ready.
Of course, this whole time the kitchen is filling with the aroma of roast turkey and the mirepoix. The turkey was ready, I let it cool, then got all the good meat of the turkey, chopped it as to be bitesize.
I then mixed the turkey with the mirepoix. I made a few tamales. They were okay, Lovey fresh roasted turkey, the heavenly smell of stuffing, but something was missing. Sage! I didn't add any sage to it. I love a good stuffing with sage.
The next batch I added the sage, it worked, it worked really well. The masa now tasted just like the cornbread stuffing I grew up on. But still, it could be better, something was still missing.
I actually went and googled a picture of a Thanksgiving dinner. I looked at the table. What was there? Turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, green bean casserole, yams, cranberry sauce, and bread.
Had the turkey and the stuffing down, mash potatoes? No. Green beans? No. Yams? That's another tamale... But what about the cranberry sauce? Well the sauce I didn't think would work, so what about whole cranberries? Sure, let's give that a shot.
I drove over to Safeway and picked up a bag of cranberries. I put a few cranberries in the next batch and the results were even better than I hoped for. The tartness of the cranberries was the element that was missing.
So the Thanksgiving Tamale was born and it has been a huge hit ever since.
There's still time to get yours for Thanksgiving.
Also, it's not to early to get your holiday tamale gifts ordered, we ship to all 50 states, so there's no reason to not have the best tamales ever...
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