Most of you know my Brother Mark from his now world famous Brother Mark BBQ sauce found in the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook and he is also mentioned in all of my books as my amazing partner in crime in the kitchen, and in life in general. John, myself, and the kiddos have no clue what we would do without Mark and not only is he the best brother a girl could ask for but he’s also an amazing uncle and an absolute whiz in the kitchen. Mark has been on a mission to make tamales in such a manner that allows us grain free eaters to enjoy them and I literally laughed out loud when he announced he was going to attempt a “masa” made with spaghetti squash as the base. Mark ignored my laughter and went for it. After a few tweaks, a couple of fails, and ultimately, a lot of tamales coming out of my kitchen; HE FREAKING DID IT!!!!!! I wish I could take some credit because this recipes is so legit I have a feeling that Mark’s Tamales are going to make some serious paleo waves once you all have a chance to try them. My only contribution was a tip here and there and well, I ate a lot of them….
Ok, enough rambling, go make some tamales and amaze your friends and family who sigh about how “boring” your way of life is.
(Never mind how awesome you feel, how great you look, and how absolutely delicious everything you eat actually is. These tamales will only add fuel to your paleo is awesome fire…)
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
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.
Now it’s time to make the shredded chicken!
2 pounds bone in skin on chicken thighs (for flavor!!!)
Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, chili powder
1 tablespoon lard or other cooking fat of your choice.
1. Lightly season the chicken thighs with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and chili powder.
2. Heat the lard 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!!
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.
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!) and scoop approximately 1/2 a 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 1/4 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.
*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!!