Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Leftovers with a twist

Every year we are daunted by the volume of left over food from Thanksgiving dinner. This year was no exception. From a 20 pound turkey along with corn bread dressing for 19, we combined it with a 12 pound smoked ham. Plus, all the trimmings of giblet gravy and cranberry sauce.

So with the challenge of figuring out a way to convince my family and friends to eat one more turkey meal I thought I would try something new. This worked out well since we were asked to have a "leftovers" dinner with two of our closest friends, Meredith and Fred Biltz. Both are avid cooks and love to entertain. They provided wonderful cornbread dressing, ham, and Meredith's Mother's fresh mustard greens -- not something you regularly see on a table in the year 2009.

But we tried something different: I took the cornbread dressing (complete with sage, onions, garlic, and of course chopped egg) and combined it with some standard masa harina tamale dough, chicken stock and, of course, some lard. After whipping this in the stand mixer it looked great, but I added in some poultry seasoning, sage, and some salt and cracked black pepper to round out the flavors.

Next, I shredded the chicken and combined it with some left over giblet gravy. While this was all going on, I had dried corn husks soaking in hot water.

So here's the set up: I took the masa/dressing mix and spread a thin film on the corn husk. Then I laid down a small row of the turkey/gravy mix, and finished it with some few berries of cranberry sauce. I then folded over the tamale and placed it in the steamer where it cooked gently for 90 minutes.

And, you know what? They weren't have bad. We had a "Turkey and Dressing Tamale" -- the complete meal. Probably won't see it on any Mexican buffets anytime soon, but it was a cool way to eat leftovers.

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