Braised Duck Tamales with Sour Cherry Mojo

Total Time:
2 hr 45 min
1 hr 45 min
1 hr

4 to 6 servings

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped thyme leaves
  • 4 duck legs
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 star anise pods
  • 2 large sticks canela (Mexican cinnamon)
  • 4 cups melted duck fat
  • 1 pound package cornhusks
  • 1 cup instant corn flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Sour cherry mojo:
  • 2 cups dried cherries
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • In a bowl, combine the kosher salt and chopped thyme and mix it well. Rub the salt and thyme mixture on both sides of the duck, layering it on thickly. Place legs in a shallow pan and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • In the same shallow pan, add the onion, garlic, star anise, canela, and duck fat over the legs. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 3 hours.

  • Meanwhile, soak the cornhusks in warm water for 1 hour.

  • To make the dough for the tamales, moisten the instant corn flour with the warm water. Set aside. Beat the shortening in a mixer until creamy and fluffy, about 10 minutes, then fold in the corn flour and chicken stock.

  • After 3 hours remove the legs from the fat, remove the outer skin and shred the meat away from the bone and set aside.

  • To assemble the tamales, open the soaked cornhusks and add 2 tablespoons of dough. Spread the dough over the cornhusk leaving a 1/2-inch border. Put 1 tablespoon of the shredded duck meat in the center in a line. Fold the cornhusk over, enclosing the duck in the dough, and secure the tamale with a string or ripped-off piece of the cornhusks. Repeat the process until all the dough and filling is finished.

  • In a double boiler or steamer, steam the tamales for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

  • To make the sour cherry mojo: Soak the dried cherries in a bowl with red wine for 1 hour.

  • In a medium saucepot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. When the oil has begun to smoke, add the shallots, chipotle, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes then deglaze with red wine vinegar and duck stock. Cook for 3 minutes then add the cherry mixture. Cook for 30 minutes until the liquid has thickened. Add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

  • To serve, remove the tamale from the steamer. Open the tamales and serve with a spoon of the cherry mojo.

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    Recipe courtesy of Marcela Valladolid