Cooking Classes


Braised Duck & Wild Mushroom Tamales

After several months of not participating I am back cooking with The Daring Cooks.  This month's challenge is tamales.  I have made them a few times before and love to have them as a treat.  Thank my lucky stars that I met a very supportive group on Chowhound a few years ago that said, "Yes you can!"

One young man of Mexican heritage passed on his mother's best tips for making a light and fluffy tamale.  It works!  These are not for the diet conscious so I have made mine tapas size.  We can enjoy them without over indulging.

Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year! 

Braised Duck & Wild Mushroom Tamales


1 cup of duck meat (breast, leg doesn't matter)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon anchilo chile powder
2 tablespoons dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
duck stock

Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and add the dried mushrooms.  Let them sit in the hot water for 20 minutes.  Remove and reserve the soaking liquid.

Brown the onions in a little olive oil.  Add duck meat and continue to saute until meat is browned.  Add the rest of the ingredients including the soaking liquid from the mushrooms, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until fall apart tender.

Tamale Dough
4 c.                  instant corn masa mix
4 c.                  lukewarm water or broth
2 t.                  baking powder
1 t.                  salt
1 1/3 c.          lard or shortening

Combine Masa Mix, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Work in the water or broth using a stand mixer, if possible, or otherwise your fingers to make a soft, moist dough.  Beat this masa mixture until it is light and smooth and resembles a cake batter.  Let sit for 20 minutes.

In another bowl, beat lard or shortening until fluffy.  If you have a stand mixer, this is ideal.  Beat it until very light and fluffy and until it almost triples in volume.  This will ensure a light tamale.

Slowly add the whipped lard to the dough a little at a time and mix in gently until well combined.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use it.  At this point you can test the dough to see if it has been beaten enough.  Drop a small amount, about the size of a raspberry into a glass of cold water.  If it floats, you will have a light and fluffy tamale.


  1. I loved that you used duck meat and made them tapas size, what a great version! Your tamales are so cute!

  2. So fun how you tied the ends and served them in the husks. Such a great, sophisticated version.

  3. What a delcious sounding filling, and great tamale making tips!

  4. That is the best instruction ever. I've made death ball tamales before and kind of gave up on them. This gives me hope for success. Yippee!

    1. Thanks, Deana! I find they work every time and I follow this to a T

  5. Your filling sounds amazing! Yum!

  6. Helpful tips on making tamales fluffy. I especially love the combination in your filling of wild duck and mushrooms, oh boy does that sound good.

  7. Oh man, that sounds good! Great combination of flavors!!
    Come see mine at

  8. They look fantastic, interesting I must give them a try. Diane

  9. Sounds like an interesting version - very different from any tamale I have eaten but it sounds like a delicious combination.

  10. How good do your duck tamales sound and look, I could eat about a dozen of them right now!

  11. yum, love tamales! hope to be able to make them here if I find some masa or a substitute.

  12. Oh my! They look so good! What a terrific meal!Happy Saturday Sarah! Angie xo

  13. Oh my gosh, so interesting about testing a bit of the dough in water. I so have to try that next time! Your tamales sound delicious. Excellent work on the challenge!

  14. Your filling sounds interesting and delicious,great job!

  15. Your tamales look delicious. I'm always impressed by the things you Daring Cooks make!

  16. They look so pretty, and sound wonderful. Excellent entry to this challenge.

  17. What a divine combination! I love tamales. :)


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