Monterey Jack and Green Chile Tamales

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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20 cornhusks
3 sticks unsalted butter
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1½ cups masa harina
¾ cup milk
¾ cup whole corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
6 ounces grated Monterey jack cheese
3 poblano chiles, roasted and diced or 2, 4-ounce cans roasted and diced green chiles

Place cornhusks in a large bowl and cover with very hot water to soften. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat butter, salt baking powder, and cumin until lightened and doubled in size.
Meanwhile, add masa harina to a medium bowl.
To a blender pitcher add milk and corn and blend until they form a paste, scraping sides down as necessary. Pour mixture over masa harina and stir until combined.
Add masa harina mixture, grated cheese and chiles to butter mixture and beat until fully combined.

To assemble tamales:
Tear 3 of the soaked cornhusks into thin strips for securing tamales once they’re rolled.
Lay one soaked cornhusk on a work surface and scoop 2 heaping tablespoons, side by side, on the center of the husk. Use the back of the spoon or your fingers to spread to an even ¼ – ½-inch thickness, leaving the edge of the cornhusk bare to avoid oozing. Starting at one long side, roll up cornhusk as you would a burrito and fold ends toward each other to overlap in the middle. Secure tamale by wrapping one or two strips of cornhusk around and tying a knot. Repeat with remaining cornhusks.

To cook tamales:
Arrange tamales in a single layer on a bamboo or other steamer rack. Set over boiling water, and cover. Steam for 12-15 minutes or until tamales just start to ooze from their wrappers. Serve immediately.

Makes 15 tamales.