BLUE-CORN TAMALES

 

12 tamales

 

 

          Blue-corn tamales are wonderful with game, beef or grilled poultry. They may be served as is or with the corn sauce for tamales.

 

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 3/4 cups white corn kernels

3/4 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 cup blue cornmeal

1/2 cup white cornmeal

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

 

 

1/2 package dry corn husks or 30 husks, cleaned and left to soak for 2 hours

 

          Place the onion and 3/4 cup corn kernels in a food processor or blender jar and process the kernels until finely ground. Add some of the chicken stock if using a blender, to facilitate grinding. Pour the corn mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the cornmeal, butter and shortening and beat to mix. Combine the chicken stock, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Pour it into the cornmeal batter and stir to make a thick batter. Fold in the remaining corn kernels and let the dough rest for 20 minutes until firm enough to hold its shape.

          Select two husks the same size and overlap the wide ends. Spoon about 1/2 cup dough in the center. Roll the edges inward to make a fat cigar shape. Tie the ends with string or strips of leftover husks. Fringe the ends. Steam on top of the stove or in the oven (preheated to 450 F.) until the tamales are puffed, moist and firm, 25 to 35 minutes. Check after about 15 minutes to be sure that the water has not boiled away; add more water if needed. Keep the tamales covered for up to 20 minutes before serving.

To serve, cut the tamales down the center with a sharp knife. Pinch the ends and gently pull the opening apart to loosen the filling. Accompany with corn sauce or a tomato and chili relish.

 

Variation

        Substitute 1 cup yellow cornmeal for the blue.

        Place a 1/2-ounce stick of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of the dough of each tamale.