12 tamales



          The combination of freshly ground corn, cornmeal, and sweet potatoes makes a colorful and intriguing accompaniment to a fall meal. Serve these with ham or roast Turkey.


          1/2 package tamale husks or 30 husks



          1 1/2 cups diced sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)

          4 tablespoons minced onion

          1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels

          3/4 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

          1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

          1 cup white cornmeal

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

          4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature

          2 teaspoons sugar

          1/2 teaspoon baking powder

          1/2 teaspoon salt

          1/4 teaspoon white pepper

          Pinch cayenne pepper



          2 tablespoons butter

          1 shallot, minced

          1/2 cup diced sweet potato (1 small sweet potato)

          1/2 cup white wine

          1/2 cup corn kernels

          1 cup heavy cream

          1/2 cup diced red bell pepper or 1/4 cup diced sun dried tomatoes, drained




          Clean and soak the husks.


            Put the sweet potatoes in water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Drain and let cool. Put the onion and corn kernels in a food processor bowl or blender jar. Process until the kernels are finely ground. Add some chicken stock if using a blender. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add the cornmeal, butter and shortening. Beat to mix well. Combine the chicken stock, sugar, baking powder, salt, white pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Pour into the cornmeal mixture and stir to make dough the consistency of thick cake batter. Fold in the sweet potatoes and let the dough rest until firm enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

           Take two husks the same size and overlap the wide ends in the middle. 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 husks. Fringe the ends.

           Steam on top of the stove or in a 450° F. oven until tamales are puffed, moist and firm, 25 to 35 minutes. Check water level after 15 minutes and add more hot water if necessary. Keep tamales covered for up to 20 minutes before serving.

           To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallot and diced sweet potato and sauté 1-minute. Add wine and simmer over medium heat until it has nearly all evaporated, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and corn kernels. Heat to a boil and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and red peppers or sun dried tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat for up to 8 minutes.

           To serve, cut the tamales down the center with a sharp knife. Pinch the ends and gently pull the opening apart slightly to loosen the filling. Place on individual plates and spoon the sauce on top, allowing it to spill over.