As long as I've known him, my husband has raved, every summer, about the Green Corn Tamales that he used to get in Tucson where he spend part of his "growin' up years". Not being a big tamale fan, I was always, like "that's nice dear" - if you know what I mean... I'm a fairly decent cook, and I did earnestly search through cookbooks for such a recipe but nothing came up UNTIL...
About 5 years ago, I was reading through my new "Sunset" magazine (which I've subscribed to since the early 1970's) and there it was - not only a recipe, but a whole article on "Tucson Tamale Pie"! I read the article and thought "Ho, boy, this is it" - but when I excitedly showed it to John, he kind of "poo-pooed" me - saying "Oh, it couldn't be as good" etc.
Well, I really wanted to try it out - and we had a potluck to go to - so there you go - You can take anything to a potluck and if it looks halfway any good, it'll be gone right away, and you won't be stuck eating left-overs of some horrible dish. Long story short - everyone, including John, loved it and I even had people asking me for the recipe!
The recipe called for lining your casserole dish with corn husks - well that went by the wayside after the first go-round - too much trouble and it didn't really add anything but a little ambiance to the dish. It also called for a chorizo & nopalito (cactus strips) sauce to spoon over the top, but since JP doesn't like sausage, that didn't fly either. Here is my revised version of the recipe that appeared in the Sept. 2001 issue of "Sunset".
(Recipe says it makes 8 servings - I bake it in my Pampered Chef 9x13 stoneware baking dish - so if it was used as a side dish - that's probably about right - we generally eat about 1/2 of it "fresh" and I wrap the other 2 quarters in Saran Wrap & foil and stick it in the freezer for a mid-winter treat)
7 pounds corn on the cob (8 or 10 ears) We have been using an Indian/sweet corn hybrid that John found someplace (if you really want to know, he'll research it) - it has a very strong "corny" flavor that stands up to the green chilies better than regular sweet corn.
3/4 cup dehydrated masa flour (I'm sure you can probably buy it in bulk to just get the 3/4 cup that you need, but I always end up buying a whole new 5# sack of the stuff - it's cheap -
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (1/2 lb)
1 can (7 oz.) diced green chilies (drained)
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
1. Husk your corn & pull off the silks from the ears (makes good sheep treats). Holding each ear upright, cut off the kernels; you need 7 cups. Discard cobs (makes good chicken treats).
[Someplace earlier this summer I read that if you're cutting the kernels off the cob, use a Bundt pan - the center stem makes a perfect place to balance your ear of corn & the pan catches all the corn kernels & juice - I tried it - very cool way to do it.]
2. Put your 7 cups of corn kernels, masa, olive oil & salt into a bowl and mix it up. Working in batches in a food processor (or you can use a blender if you're desparate, but the food processor works eons better) I do about 2 cups at a time - (small food processor) - whirl until the corn is finely ground - scrape the mixture into another bowl until you are done - Stir in your shredded cheese & drained green chilies.
3. Spray the bottom & sides of your casserole dish with non-stick spray (or you could line it with corn husks, but what a lot of work and you loose some of the mixture getting stuck in the folds of the husks) Spread the corn/cheese mixture into your baking dish, making sure it is level. Cover with foil.
4. Bake at 350 degrees until the corn mixture is steaming and slightly firm to the touch in the center (uncover to check) 55-60 minutes, taking care that it doesn't overcook - you're not making cornbread here. Let the dish stand covered for about 10 minutes after you remove it from the oven.
Like I said earlier, the recipe called for putting a mixture of fried chorizo & cactus strips on it or a nice green salsa on top of it. We eat it plain - it makes a nice side dish for fajitas or chicken enchiladas. If you want the skinny on the chorizo mix - let me know and I'll email it to you. Happy eating!