The Best Way to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers? Turkey Tamales (via Mexico)

·Editor at Large

It’s a little-known fact, but all the best chefs in the world are Mexican (Note I said best not most famous). And within Mexico, each area has its specialty. Chef Eric Ripert, who owns the three-Michelin-star restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City, once told me, “All the best French chefs come from Puebla.” And if you want the place with the best tamales, head to Oaxaca, the region that is known for its famous black mole sauce.

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Hot tamales! (Katie Schumm/Flickr)

I traveled there with the genius gentlemen of The Muddy Boot, and since Thanksgiving is coming up, I asked them to find me a family who really knows how to cook, which is how we ended up at the Lopez family household. (Don’t worry, if you travel with The Muddy Boot, they can call the Lopezes up and take you there, too, for your own cooking class.).

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Tamales with Thanksgiving leftovers? Yes! (Peter Svensk/Flickr)

Check out the video above to learn how to make some of the most delicious turkey tamales I’ve ever tasted. It’s cheap, easy, and the best way to make use of your turkey leftovers!

While the real, dark mole sauce takes forever, we found a great, easy one on Moms who Think - voila!


2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup water
3 large dried chilies
2 onions; chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1 oz. square unsweetened baking chocolate


1. Combine salt, pepper, water, chiles and onions in a saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes on low.

2. Add garlic, tomato sauce, sugar, cinnamon and chocolate.

3. Stir until heated through and chocolate is melted, then serve on smoked beef. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

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