Sunday, May 22, 2011

Green Chile and Corn Tamales

I ran across this recipe in the LA Times, adapted from "Mesa Mexicana" by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger with Helene Siegel, and it sure looked wonderful.  Here is the link:LA Times Recipe

Don't you just love tamales? The primitive wrapper, the masa that is so ... basic, and sustaining, and in this recipe, whole corn and green chile and cheese?

And... who knew that grits would make a good masa?

I just had to try this.

But I didn't want to fool with the fresh corn that was called for by the LATimes.  Dried corn shucks are readily available here. Frozen corn is a lot faster.
Here's what I did.  (This made about a dozen tamales.)

1. Start by soaking the corn husks in water.

2. Put a couple of tablespoons of butter in a pan and melt it, and add the frozen corn. Cook on high heat until the corn begins to brown.

3. Then add chopped green chile. Long green chile, or poblano chile, that has been roasted, peeled and seeded. I used 4 chiles, but it depends on how hot the chile is, and your own preference.

4.  Put 1/2 cup of grits in a bowl and add 1/2 tsp. baking powder.  Mix with a whisk.

5. Add 1 cup of liquid to the corn and chile;  the recipe called for heavy cream. So I used a combination of evaporated milk, Mexican Crema, and water. (Because I didn't have heavy cream) And because I hadn't used heavy cream, I added about 2 more tablespoons of butter so the masa would be tender. Tamales need some fat, or you will end up with a grits hockey-puck.

6.  After turning off the heat, add the grits/baking powder mixture.

7.  Then add about 1/2 cup of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese. Mix well.

8.  Let the masa/corn mixture cool.

9.  Now take a wet husk and if it's not very large, use 2 with the large side on the edges. Put about 3T. of the mixture in the husk and roll it up. Tie one end with a strip of husk.

10.  Put the tamales on a steam basket in a large pot and fill with water to the bottom of the steamer. Cover the pot.  Steam gently for about an hour, re-filling the water on the bottom of the pot as needed.

Keep them warm for serving, covering with a wet towel in a warm oven.
OH, MY.   They were delicious, and I was amazed at the amount of masa made by that little amount of grits!
A great side for a delicious steak.  I will definitely be making these again.