Along the Grapevine

Canada Goose Confit Tamales



This is a two-part recipe, one for a Canada goose confit and one for tamales, and each recipe can stand alone. The confit can be made from chicken, duck, or most meats, so if you don’t have goose, you can still use the same recipe. Likewise, just about any filling can be used for tamales – it is more for the methods than the exact ingredients that I write this post. You may have your own local ingredients that would serve well in these recipes.

I just happened to have received my annual Canada goose and wanted to prepare it in such a way that it could be preserved and used in small amounts for several recipes. So I began by making my confit.

Confit is a way of preserving poultry or meat so that it has a shelf life of several months. It can be bought ready-made in a good butcher’s shop, and although it’s expensive, it is worth it. Often used in cassoulets and other bean dishes, it can also be added to rice or vegetable dishes.

The process for making it takes some time, but it is really quite easy. First the meat is cured in salt for several hours, then cooked long and slow covered in fat – duck or goose fat is good if you have it, but lard or oil can also be used. Then it is packed and sealed, again covered in fat, in mason jars.

This was my first attempt, and while it worked, I would change my method slightly next time and make it less complicated. I did not have a second goose, so I made do with it, but for the recipe I will direct you to two recent posts I read on the subject. Forager Chef  offers a very straight forward method with a delicious berry sauce and Married with Cauldron who makes duck confit with sunflower oil. Both these recipes are very helpful to anyone trying this for the first time.


Just for the record, I used lard that I had rendered myself. Once you remove whatever fat you have used to cook and store it, you can use that for heating up the meat, roasting vegetables, or as in my case, to make tamales.

Now for the second part of this recipe. I’d never made tamales before, but I have tasted many varieties of this ancient dish in several Latin American countries. If you are not familiar with them, they are a cornmeal mash filled with meat, vegetable and sometimes fruit, wrapped and steamed in corn husks.


I keep corn husks on hand even though tamales have never been part of my repertoire. They are very useful for just about anything where you normally use aluminum foil. I use them on the grill, to roast and “tent”, sometimes just to line or cover dishes. They impart a delicious flavour of their own, and can be composted after use. I highly recommend them.DSC02857

I read many, many posts on making tamales, (the singular of which is tamal)  mostly from Latin America because I was looking for authentic recipes. Before this I had no idea that the cornmeal was usually mixed with beaten lard, but was relieved to find that I could use what I had from cooking the goose.DSC02853

For a vegetarian version, they are sometimes made with vegetable oil which I have yet to try. For this recipe I worked out my own proportions and flavourings, and aimed for something resembling what I knew. And I am pleased to say the recipe worked out just as I had hoped.

Canada Goose Tamales

Ingredients for the cornmeal

6 cups cornmeal

4 cups stock (approximately)

1 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp chili powder

2 cups lard (or other fat)

Ingredients for the filling

1 lb goose confit

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp each coriander, cumin and black pepper

2 hot chili peppers (or to taste)

2 tsp pepper jelly (or other sweet condiment)

I/2 cup stock, vegetable or meat or combination of both

To make the goose filling, fry the onion until it is soft. Add the garlic, pepper and spices and cook for a further two minutes. Add the stock and jelly, reduce the heat and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

To make the cornmeal mixture, start by pouring hot water over the husks and all them to soak until soft, about ten minutes. Combine the dry ingredients and stir in the stock gradually until mixture is the consistency of peanut butter. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile beat the lard with an electric mixer until it is very fluffy (see photo above). Stir the lard into the cornmeal mixture.

Place one corn husk on a flat surface and spread the corn mixture in a thin layer in the centre, leaving about 3/4 of an inch at either end, and about half an inch on either side. Place about 2 Tbsp of filling down the centre of the corn and roll up the husk. Tie the ends with string or with strips of corn husk. Repeat for the other tamales.

Place in a steamer and steam for 20 minutes. To serve, untie the bundles and discard the husks.


There was enough cornmeal for 3 dozen tamales, but only enough goose filling for 16. For the rest I made a vegetable filling with caramelized onions, chopped wild mushrooms, grated scapes, seasoning and a little vegetable stock, following the same method as I used with the goose filling.DSC02862

Once steamed, tamales can be stored in the fridge for three days or frozen for longer, and reheated by steaming them again for about five minutes (depending on how thick they are). They can be eaten on their own as a hearty snack, a light meal, and combined with salad, salsa, refried beans or however you like. DSC02864


Linked to: Fiesta Friday #102;  hosted by Angie at The Novice Gardener, co-hosted by Elaine at Foodbod and Julie at Hostess at Heart



Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

26 thoughts on “Canada Goose Confit Tamales

  1. Wow, these tamales look so moist and delicious. I’ve had tamales in Mexico before, and they are amazing the way they steam the food. I haven’t had goose in a long time, but I know it was delicious in this recipe. You are always so creative Hilda. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The parcels look so perfect! Thank you for sharing these with us at Fiesta Friday 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your tamales look delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a great post, Hilda! I love how you have married two cuisines together in one delicious package! Tamales are so wonderful because they are so versatile and you have shown us just how versatile they are. I bet they are really delicious!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Chef. They really are delicious. I always have trouble expressing that in my post because possibly not everyone likes tamales, but for those of us who like the sweetness of corn mixed with spices, they really hit the spot.


  5. Never had a tamale or a goose. Good heavens, you foodie bloggers are simply brilliant offering up such interesting recipes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh what a wonderful addition to the Fiesta Friday table, Hilda. Tamales are a favorite, yours looks just mouth-watering. Love how you showed the whole process. Whenever I think Canada Goose, I get upset, because they used to stop here for a while on the way south, but now they just stay :). They are lovely though when you see them in flocks, but can be so territorial especially when the young ones are around.


  7. I love the sound of both dishes – they look and sound so good! I am just not sure if I have eaten either of them before. Anyways, I can so the first try from this week’s FF. So thank you, Hilda! 😀 Happy FF102!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I learnt many things today! I didn’t know what a confit was until now; never knew that corn husks could be used instead aluminum foil and that there was lard in tamales! I was also on the lookout for a easy tamale recipe. It always looks so daunting to me! Yours looks simple and easy. Thanks for sharing. I am saving the recipe. Happy weekend!


  9. I’m so glad you liked them. I learned a lot by making them too. I must add to the recipe that the leaves should be soaked in boiling water until they soften a bit to make them easier to work with. I would be interested to know how they turn out for you if you do make them.I think a roasted pepper, mushroom and chili filling would be excellent.


  10. I bet these are fabulous! I love confit anything!


  11. Tamales are such a treat! My household favorites are chicken and plain cheese tamales but I love the confit twist that you’ve added.


    • Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Maybe I’ll try the cheese next. What kind of cheese do you use, and is your method similar to mine? I don’t know many people around here who make them, and you can’t buy them here either, so I am very interested to learn about other people’s recipes.


  12. I keep meaning to make confit most likely duck in my case, and when I do finally get round to it I will be sure to refer to your tips. Tamales are on my to-make list too so this is a perfect post for me!


    • Thanks Caroline. Now that I’ve made confit once, I intend to do it again. I admit I would like a sous vide machine which would make it easier and more economical, but that being unlikely I will just make it the old way. As for tamales, I will definitely be making them again.


  13. Oh my word, these tamales look so good!! I love your creative recipes!


  14. They look fantastic! I’m looking forward to trying your recipes, Hilda!


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  16. I’ve never had tamales, but l would love to try some, they seem to be such a popular dish. Your recipe looks great, thanks for sharing! 😊


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