Fresh Corn Tamales
- 2 packages (each 8 oz.) corn husks
- 1 1/2 cups hominy grits
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 16 cups pureed fresh corn kernels (from about
24 ears of corn)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 lb. Mexican cheese, such as asadero or queso
cotijo (queso añejo), or white cheddar cheese,
cut into 1-inch squares about 1/4 inch thick
- 8 poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded and
cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 25 to 30 pieces of kitchen twine, each 12 to 15
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a 10 to 12-quart pot over medium heat, toast the hominy grits until fragrant and nutty, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the butter and olive oil and cook, stirring constantly, until the grits are slightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the corn puree and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick and the grits are just firm to the bite, 15 to 18 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and thoroughly fold in the baking powder. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cool and slightly firm, 2 to 3 hours.
To assemble the tamales, lay 2 corn husks on a work surface, overlapping each other by 3 to 4 inches, with tapered ends pointed outward. Place 1/2 cup of the corn mixture in the center of the inside husk, leaving a 1-inch border on each side. Top the filling with 1 or 2 pieces of cheese and 1 or 2 chili strips. Fold the edges of the inside husk over the filling, then fold the tapered end into the center over the filling. Turn this husk over so the folded edges are facing down. Wrap the outside husk over the filled one in the same manner. Using a piece of kitchen twine, tie the tamale snug to secure the filling inside. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 25 to 30 tamales.
Fill a large pot with a steamer insert with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Make sure the steamer does not touch the water. Working in batches, arrange the tamales in the steamer and cook, occasionally checking the water level and adding more as needed, until the tamales are hot and slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.