PART OF Halloween

Learn How to Make This Show-Stopping Turkey & Black Chile Tamal

If you're planning a Day of The Dead celebration to pay homage to your ancestors, look no further. Our step-by-step instructions will help you master this awe-inspiring ode to Mexican cuisine.

Giant Black Chile & Turkey Tamal

Full of smoky turkey and light masa, everyone will be impressed when you unwrap this luscious tamal. Here's how it's done:

First up, Make the Sauce

Roast chiles on a rimmed baking sheet until completely black, slightly puffed and charcoal like in texture, 1 hour.

Perfectly Crispy Chiles

A helpful tip: your kitchen will get very smoky so keep the vent on and windows open. Don't worry! The smoke will subside after the first 15 minutes.

Staying hydrated

Soak roasted chiles in water to rehydrate for at least 8 hours, up to 48 hours.

Stack those Flavors

Combine rehydrated chiles, roasted tomatoes, peppers, garlic and spices in a blender.

Blend it up

Purée ingredients until they form a smooth sauce.

Golden Brown Goodness

Heat 1 tablespoon schmaltz in a large heavy pot over medium-high and sear turkey thighs, starting skin-side down, turning once, until deep golden browned.

Two become one

Add chile purée to the heavy pot with the turkey thighs and braise in the oven until the meat shreds easily.

Falling off the bone, literally

Reserving the sauce, remove bones from the cooled turkey and shred.

Roughly Chop the Turkey

Flavor in every bite.

Finish up the filling

Toss the chopped turkey in the reserved sauce for an extra chili kick. Get ahead: The filling can be made three days before the tamal.

Prepare the Masa

Mix masa, schmaltz, stock and salt in a large bowl with your hands until well incorporated and the mixture looks shiny and smooth about 4 minutes.


Press the masa onto greased banana leaves and spread out turkey filling in the middle, leaving a border around the edge.

And we're rolling

Using overhanging leaves to help you, fold the tamal so that the masa overlaps the filling, tuck the sides under and cover with a damp cloth and foil.

A Gift

Bake your tamal for 65 to 70 minutes, then leave covered and sit for 30 minutes. Unwrap gently, being careful not to break apart the tamal.

A Feast Fit for Your Ancestors

Serve this impressively complex dish with a sprinkling of pickled red onion.