Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Corn, Chiles, and Cream

I know, the picture isn't so great!  However, this Mexican style corn pudding with a poblano cream sauce was so delicious, I decided to post it anyway!
The original recipe for this dish used corn cut from the cob.  There's only *ONE dish I know of that is worth sacrificing the deliciousness of fresh corn ON the cob when you have it, so although I always wanted to try this recipe, I never did.  Then I thought about trying it with frozen corn, but doing something to make the frozen corn taste more "corny" so that it would do THIS recipe justice.  Also, the recipe calls for 4 cups of corn kernels, which takes a lot of corn on the cob, but no big deal when you're pouring it out of a bag!  So, what I did was "roast" the frozen corn in the oven before using it in the recipe.  All that meant was putting it in on a cooking sprayed sheet pan and into the oven for a few minutes.  This resulted in a drier, roasted-tasting corn that had a lot more flavor. 
The poblano cream sauce is my adaptation from another recipe also.  It is very tasty and worth roasting and peeling the chiles.  If you don't want to, just used the canned Hatch type chiles.  Buy them whole and slice them into strips.  It will still be good! 
When I make a more complicated side dish, I almost always serve it with a very simple main dish like grilled beef, fish, or chicken.  That makes a more complementary meal taste-wise and it's easier on the cook!
*If you're wondering what that is, it is called "fried corn" and it is, to me, the quintessential Southern dish.  The recipe isn't mine to give, but sometime I'll ask my friend if she'll share it when she seems in a good mood :)
Note:  This dish tastes fabulous the next day for a brunch type meal.  Re-heat the sauce, make thin slices of the corn pudding and heat them on a plate.  Top them with a poached or fried egg and then the poblano cream sauce.  Yay!

Roasted Corn Pudding

6 Tbl. salted butter (softened)
4 cups roasted frozen corn kernels (method follows)
1/4 cup milk
2.5 Tbl. flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt (to your taste-- I like 1 tsp.)
3 eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 350F.  On a PAM sprayed sheet pan, spread out 4 cups of frozen corn kernels (not the "super sweet" kind-- just the ordinary type).  Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.  The corn should be somewhat dry and a few will be slightly browned.  Stir them around and roast for about 3 min. more if necessary.
Puree the corn with the butter in a food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the egg whites (you do add the yolks) and process until well blended.  It will be like a thick batter. 
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold the corn batter into the whites until combined.  Pour into a PAM sprayed baking dish (can be a loaf pan or square pan-- it will rise about 1/2 inch).  Bake for 50 minutes, or until the center doesn't jiggle and seems well set.
Serve in slices topped with the poblano cream sauce.

Poblano Chile Cream Sauce

2 large poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into short strips (method follows)
2 Tbl. salted butter
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbl. flour
1 cup half and half

To roast chiles:  Wash them well and put onto a foil lined sheet pan or cookie sheet.  Set the broiler on "Hi" and slide the chiles under the broiler.  Allow them to get blistered and blackened, then turn to get them roasted on all sides.  Take them out of the oven and fold the foil up around them to seal them in.  Let them steam for 10 minutes that way.  Open the foil and let the chiles cool.  The skin will rub off very easily.  Cut out the top stem and disgard.  Slice open the chile and rinse under water to remove all the seeds. 
Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Saute the onion until fairly soft, then mix in the flour and stir it around to coat the onions.  It will seem like a mess.  Add the half and half and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens.  It will be smooth and creamy.  Taste and add salt as necessary.

I think my photo would have looked prettier with a sprig of cilantro over the top and that might be a nice garnish if you wanted to do that-- and you like cilantro!

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