Bless my father for finding a paleo tamale recipe to make our wonderful, amazing tamale dressing for Thanksgiving!

These are made with chicken but the sky is the limit!  Try them stuffed with my Chili VerdeCarnitas, or get creative and post to comments what YOU came up with!

The “Masa” 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked spaghetti squash meat (my favorite way to cook a spaghetti squash is to cut a large slit in the squash with a sharp knife and microwave for 8 – 15 minutes depending on the size of your squash. Cut the cooked squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and use a fork to scrape out the inside strands of the squash until you have 4 cups of the meat.)
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 tablespoon lard or bacon grease
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 egg yolks

Directions

  1. Place the cooked meat of the spaghetti squash into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Place the pureed squash into a wire mesh strainer and using a rubber spatula, stir and push as much moisture as possible through the strainer. Discard the liquid.
  3. Place the strained squash meat into a large bowl and add the remaining masa ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.

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Now it’s time  to make the shredded chicken!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 package of ground chorizo OR 1 package of chicken chorizo sausage (our own addition)
  • Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

Directions

  1. Lightly season the chicken thighs with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and chili powder.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat and brown the chicken thighs on both sides.
  3. Add 2 cups of water to the skillet and bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is done all the way through.  Pull the meat from the bone and shred the chicken. Save the skin and bones to make broth!!
  4. Add the ground chorizo OR pull the skin off of the chorizo sausage and chop/crumble, sauté in a dry pan until the grease starts to coat the pan, stirring occasionally, then add the shredded chicken to absorb the chorizo flavor. Sauté for a few minutes, then remove from heat and leave in a bowl until ready to assemble.

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Now time to prepare the corn husks!  These can be found on the ethnic aisle of any major grocery store.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, turn the heat off, and soak the corn husks in the water until soft and easy to work with.

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Now assemble the tamales!  Preheat your oven to 375.

  1. Take a prepared corn husk (do not dry off the corn husk, leave it damp or the “masa” will stick! – you may also want to spritz with cooking oil for additional slickness) and scoop approximately ½ cup of masa (more or less depending on the size of the corn husk) into the middle of the corn husk, spreading the dough so it’s about a ¼ of an inch thick.
  2. Add a large spoonful of the shredded chicken in the middle of the masa and evenly spread down the middle.
  3. Roll the corn husk and fold up the narrow end.
  4. Place the rolled tamales, flap down on a baking sheet and bake for 25 min.
  5. Turn over and bake for an additional 25 min.

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Things to remember – making tamales of any kind is a learning process and your tamales might need more or less cooking time depending on your oven, the size you end up making your tamales, if you decide to use more or less masa per tamale, etc., so have fun, experiment and enjoy!   Our trial and error with these tamales has made us come to the conclusion that if you overcook these, the masa will not be tender and the chicken will be dry so make sure you check on your tamales sooner than later!  True traditional tamales are steamed, not baked.  We have not attempted this but feel free to try, just do one or two rather than the entire batch, but I think with this type of dough, baking is probably best.

Serve as is or with your favorite salsa OR if you really have some time to kill, make my mole sauce to go with it!!

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