Like many Mexicans, we roasted a turkey for Christmas. Having not celebrated Thanksgiving this year, I was pretty hungry for one.
But--shhh, don't tell anyone!--we still had leftovers from last year's Thansgiving turkey in the freezer!!!! (In my defense, we bought a smoked turkey last year, thinking it would be as excellent as smoked ham. We were wrong.) I knew I could not have two years' worth of after-holiday turkey hanging out in the freezer.
After we had eaten as much roasted turkey as we could stand that last week of December, I got creative and made the most beautiful let's-hide-the-leftover-turkey meals ever! Or at least some of the more beautiful meals to grace my table.
Leftover meal #1) Turkey ring. Turkey, mayonnaise, dried cranberried, dijon mustard, peacans, and celery all wrapped in crescent rolls. This meal rivals the original roasted turkey from Christmas Day. Soooo good.
The only problem was that I could not find crescent rolls in Saltillo to save my life. I know they sell them here--Sheila brought some for Thanksgiving in 2009. I guess they just don't sell them on my side of town. I almost bought them in Laredo, but it was a hot day and I realized they'd probably explode in the car on the way home.
So I made them from scratch. (Thank you Joy of Cooking, for the recipe.) It was a pain in the butt, but once I got my 3 sticks of butter and set aside the time to do it, it was pretty fun. The coolest part was simply the fact that they turned out well. All day I'd gaze at that beautiful turkey roll in awe, and exclaim, "look at that--those are crescent rolls! And I MADE them!!!" I'm still a little giddy.
Leftover meal #2) Tamales
As this was our first Christmas in Mexico without Mario's family, I really missed not having tamales. And the last time my mother-in-law was here, I helped her make a batch of tamales, so I had a bit of a clue. I knew ahead of time that they'd be labor intensive, but having the turkey made already, I didn't think it would be too bad.
And it wasn't!
I got the recipe for the dough from Cooking on the Side (after googling tamal recipes). Having worked with my mother-in-law, I was pretty confident about making the dough and wrapping them.
The salsa that goes on top made me super nervous. While my husband is a wonderful, wonderful man, he won't eat things he doesn't like. Or are just vaguely "off". And not being Mexican (OK, just not being a big fan of salsa in general) I have no confidence when it comes to making salsa.
We had two dried ancho chiles and I had no idea what to do with them. Fortunately, the package of corn husks (that one wraps the tamales in to steam) comes with the vaguest of instructions. But that was enough for me. Because they were my only source of wisdom, telling me to SOAK the chiles before trying to do anything with them. Ahhh . . . Then I added garlic and cumin, and it made a decent salsa. I spent about two hours wrapping roughly 40 tamales, let them sit in the refrigerator overnight (not a necessary step, but as I finished at midnight and didn't plan on eating them until the next day, it was necessary for me), and then steamed them for just over an hour before eating them.
And they turned out, just like tamales are supposed to turn out! Even picky husband said they were good! It was another one of those meals where I just beamed and thought to myself, "yeah--look at me, I made THAT!" (OK, I may have said that out loud a few times.)
We'll be eating some less labor-intensive meals for the rest of the month.
Although I might do tamales again for Candelaria Day (Feb. 2ed). I've always wanted to.