Black Bean Tamales, Roasted Tomato Salsa and Chile con Queso

Fresh corn masa spread on soaked husks and filled with cumin-fried black beans.  Served with fire-roasted tomato salsa and chile con queso..

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Black Bean Tamales, Roasted Tomato Salsa and Chile con Queso

For the Chili con Queso

1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk
1 1/2 cups grated raw cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons pastured butter
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 red Fresno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon sweet dairy whey
1/2 teaspoon smoked chili powder
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat.  Add peppers and cook until softened.  Add milk and bring to a strong simmer, stirring often.  Add whey (this gives the sauce a tangy taste) and stir to combine.  Add cheese a little at a time, stirring as it melts.  Season with smoked chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in cilantro and parsley and keep warm.

For the Tomato Sauce

2 plum tomatoes, cored and halved
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small white onion, diced
1-2 small green chiles, diced
pinch of non-refined sugar (optional)
salt and pepper

Roast, grill or broil tomatoes until partially black and blistered.  Allow to cool enough to handle, then sauté together with garlic, onions and chiles until most of the water has evaporated.  Add sugar if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

For the Filling

1 cup black beans, soaked overnight
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon leaf lard
salt and pepper

Cook black beans in chicken stock until tender.  Drain and set aside, reserving liquid

Sauté onion, garlic and cumin in lard until fragrant.  Add beans and mash with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add bean cooking liquid as necessary to form a thick but spreadable paste.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

For the Dough

1 1/2 cups coarse corn masa (not cornmeal)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, warm
1/4 cup leaf lard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

6 8-inch enconchada-style corn husks, soaked

Whip lard until fluffy, then blend in masa, salt and baking powder.  Slowly mix in chicken stock until a moist, consistent dough is formed.

Spread dough as evenly as possible over one side of each husk, about 1/8 inch thick.  Place a large spoonful of fried bean mixture in the center of the dough.  Fold the sides of the husks so that they overlap in the center, forming a long cigar-like structure.  Fold the empty part of the husk under so that it rests against the seam.

Bundle tamales together and steam standing upright until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

To serve, ladle tomato sauce into the center of a plate, carefully unwrap the tamales and arrange around the perimeter.  Spoon chile con queso over the top, and garnish plate with bits of diced onion, red pepper and cilantro.  Drizzle hot sauce and serve immediately.

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This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays

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