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Corn and quinoa tamale, grilled vegetable salsa and marinated grilled chicken

Go all out for a Mexican barbecue with spiced cornmeal stuffed in corn husks with lime and honeyed chicken thighs.

Ingredients

For the marinade
For the corn and quinoa tamale
For the vegetable salsa
For the garnish

Preparation method

  1. Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl then mix well with a spoon. Dip each piece of chicken in the marinade then place on a plate. Cover with a cling film to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

  2. For the corn and quinoa tamale, gently pull off the husk (leaves) from around the cob, making sure to keep it whole. With a sharp knife, cut off the corn from the cob and keep the leaves to one side.

  3. In a pan, heat up the olive oil and add the onions, garlic, lemon thyme and finely chopped chipotle. Cook by gently stirring until the onions get a light golden colour; at this stage add the corn and the apple juice. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat to simmer gently.

  4. After 15 minutes, keeping the ingredients in the pan, use a hand-held stick blender to slightly blend the mixture - pulse 3 or 4 times (only enough to start to break some corn and release some of the starch). Add the quinoa, mix well, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for another 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl, then set aside to cool.

  5. To shape the tamale: Cut four 15cm/6in lengths of kitchen string. On a clean surface overlap the corn leaves to make four crosses. Place equal amounts of the mixture in the middle and then fold in the right side to the left, then the top down toward you, then the left to right and finally, the front up to complete the parcel. Tighten the parcel neatly with a piece of string.

  6. For the salsa, heat a griddled pan or barbecue to hot. Toss the vegetables in very little of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper then sear them on a very hot cast iron griddle or barbecue to slightly char the outside.

  7. Place in a blender, add the rest of the olive oil with some salt, pepper, garlic and lime juice and blend to a slightly chunky sauce. Taste and season again if necessary.

  8. Preheat a griddle pan or barbecue to medium-high and grill the marinated chicken thighs until cooked through, then set aside to rest. (Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh to check that the juices run clear.) Finish in the oven if necessary at 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  9. Place the tamales on the griddle or barbecue to colour on both sides. Then switch off the heat (or move the tamale off the direct heat if on the barbecue) and leave to warm through.

  10. To serve, place the salsa in a jug. Cut off the top leaves of each tamale with scissors place one on each plate. Place a chicken thigh alongside, sprinkle over the herbs and serve.

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