Blue Corn, native to the Southwest, gives these tamales a distinctive, nutty taste. Make them smaller than an entree tamale and serve as a side dish in place of a vegetable. This recipe is taken from Just North of the Border, by Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach. Prima Publishing, 1992.
6 green New Mexican chiles, roasted, peeled, stems and seeds removed, chopped
2 cups whole-kernel corn
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups coarse blue cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup lard or shortening
Combine the chiles, corn, and cheese together for the filling.
Soak the corn husks in water to soften.
Mix together the blue cornmeal and salt. Slowly add the broth, stirring with a fork until the mixture holds together. Whip the lard or shortening until it is fluffy. Add the cornmeal mixture to the shortening and continue to beat. Drop a teaspoonful of dough into a glass of cold water. If the dough floats, it is ready. If it sinks, continue to beat it until it floats.
To assemble, select corn husks that measure about 5 by 8 inches or overlap smaller ones together. Place 2 tablespoons of dough in the center of the husk and pat or spread it evenly into a 2-by-3-inch rectangle. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling down the center and top with some cheese. Fold the husk around the dough and filling, being careful not to squeeze the tamale.
There are two basic ways of securing the corn husks. The first is to use two strips of husk to firmly tie each end of the tamale. This method works well with smaller corn husks.
The second method is to fold the tapered end over the filled husk and then fold the remaining end over it. Tie the tamale around the middle with a strip of husk to keep the ends folded down. Place a rack in the bottom of a steamer or large pot. Make sure that the rack is high enough to keep the tamales above the water. Place the tamales on the rack, folded side down; if the pot is large enough, stand them up. Do not pack them tightly because they need to expand as they cook. Cover with additional husks or a towel to absorb the moisture. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a gentle boil, and steam for an hour for each dozen tamales, or until done. To test for doneness, open one end of a husk; if the dough pulls away from the wrapper, it is done.