Friday, May 14, 2010

Chilean Corn Packets-Gourmet July 1972

I didn't try any of these, but Mr. ETB really liked them-he said it reminded him of "parched corn", whatever the hell that is. I imagine it is some sort of strange, Pennsylvania Dutch foodstuff from his youth. What was really notable about these was the smell as they cooked-kind of like a cross between cornbread and fresh hay. Pleasant, but odd in the familiar/unfamiliar combination.

What attracted me to the recipe was the use of the corn cobs to construct a base for steaming. The husks are used as well-no waste! Unlike tamales, they never get terribly firm (though they do stay together somewhat) as they lack any sort of flour or binder, but they sure do look adorable in their tiny packets.

Husk 6 ears of corn, remove the silk, and reserve the husks. Grate the corn on the coarse blade of a grater into a bowl and reserve the cobs. In a small skillet, saute 1/3 cup finely minced onion in 1 tablespoon lard (I used Crisco) until it is golden. Stir the onion into the corn and add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well.

Plunge the husks into a pot of boiling water and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat, but keep in water until ready to use.

Drain husks and pull out the 12 larges ones. Working on a board (I used a large baking sheet), place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture in the centre of the husk. Fold over sides, then top and bottom. Secure with a strip torn from another husk.

In a large pot, place corn cobs in bottom, breaking if need be. Pour over enough boiling water to just barely reach top of cobs. Place packets on top and cover. Steam until firmed a bit-about 40 minutes to an hour, replensihing boiling water as needed.

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