Black Bean, Corn and Cheese Corundas (Mini Tamales)

Corunda style tamal filled with black beans, corn and cheese.

Corunda style tamal filled with black beans, corn and cheese.

These bite-size tamales are just mouthfuls of yum. I really enjoy this style, also known as corundas in Mexico. They have that traditional tie that most people associate with Latin American tamales. For this variation I added fresh corn and instead of discarding the fresh husk I used them during the steaming of the tamales. It adds a wonderful aroma and keeps the tamales nice and moist while they steam. This recipe was inspired by my trip to Austin, Texas last year. My family treated me to lunch at Guero’s Cafe where we enjoyed a wonderful plate full of black bean and cheese tamales with assorted salsa’s for garnishing. Take advantage of the fresh corn while you can. There is nothing like it when added to your favorite recipes.

 

Yields 48 to 50 small tamales and up to 10 to 12 servings

 

Ingredients:

50 dried corn husk, plus more for ties on corundas (tamales)

For the Masa:
3 1/2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon turmeric, mostly for color
3 1/2 cups warm chicken broth, plus 3/4 cup separated
3/4 cup pork manteca (lard) or vegetable shortening, melted

Black Bean, Corn and Cheese Corundas

Black Bean, Corn and Cheese Corundas

Tips~ Don’t ever feel like you cannot tackle any tamal recipe. Prepare the ingredients over a couple of days. This is what I do, since I am usually working alone. It will make the process a lot easier and quite enjoyable. So worth the effort!


You will also need:

3 cups fresh corn kernels off the cob
2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded Oaxaca, mozzarella  or jack cheese
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
1/2 cup sweet onions, finely diced
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Olive oil
Fresh corn husk from corn used in recipe

Filling and Tying Corunda Style Tamal

Filling and Tying Corunda Style Tamal

Tips~ If soaked husks are too narrow, you can layer two together to create a wider area for filling. Just make sure they can be folded and tied without any masa leaking out. I like to fill a whole baking sheet full and then tie them up. This way you are not going back and forth.

Black Bean, Corn and Cheese Corundas

Black Bean, Corn and Cheese Corundas

Tips~ Whether you tie once at the top or on both ends, the results are pretty much the same and they cook in the same amount of time. If you wanted to make larger tamales, just make sure your soaked corn husk are large enough. Different brands of husk will come in different sizes.

 

Directions:

1. Place the dried corn husk in a large pot and cover with really hot or boiling water. Use a heavy bowl or a couple of plates to weigh down the husk to keep them submerged. Let them soak for a couple of hours. Transfer the fresh corn husk to a plastic storage bag until you are ready to use them.

2. In a large bowl, add the masa harina, salt, baking powder and turmeric. Gradually add in the 3 1/2 cups of warm chicken broth until dough forms. Mix in the melted lard or shortening and remaining 3/4 cup of chicken broth. It should look like a thick paste. Let sit for 30 minutes, then chill for 1 hour.

3. In another large bowl, combine the corn, black beans, bell pepper, jalapeño, onions, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste. Stir well to combine. Fold this mixture into the masa, along with the 2 cups of shredded cheese. Chill for at least 1 hour. Best if chilled overnight.

4. After a few hours, drain the soaking corn husk and cover with more hot water. Grab a few of the soaking corn husk and shake off excess water. To each corn husk, add two full tablespoons of masa/black bean filling right in the center of the husk. Fold in the sides, tear off two thin strips off the extra corn husk and tie both ends to seal. Continue filling and tying until done.

5. Prepare two large dutch oven style pots with a steamer insert on the bottom. Fill the bottom of each pot with about 5 cups of water so it comes up right below steamer insert. Divide and layer the corunda-style tamales into the two pots. Cover the tamales with any extra corn husk, plus the fresh ones you took off the fresh corn. Heat to high until it starts to steam vigorously. Reduce heat slightly and set timer for 30 minutes. Once timer goes off, rotate pots and add more hot water to the bottom. Repeat two more times for a total of 90 minutes steaming time. Remove from heat and let steep and cool slightly for 30 minutes to one hour before removing from pot. As they cool, they will become more firm. Serve with your favorite rice recipe and salsa for garnish.

Corunda Style Tamal is great for large family gatherings during the holidays.

Corunda Style Tamal is great for large family gatherings during the holidays.

Serve your favorite side of rice and beans with this tamal recipe.

Serve your favorite side of rice and beans with this tamal recipe.

Tips~ Prepare your favorite rice recipe and fold in 1 to 2 cups of drained beans for a hearty side dish. Check out the many salsa recipes posted right here on Hispanic Kitchen.

 

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