Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Spicy Corn Casserole

Seems like the last couple of years that corn has gotten a bad rap. Ya know, the whole GMO thing. A couple of damning documentaries. The fact that it's in pretty much everything one way or another. Yeah, I'd say corn has seen it's share of bad publicity lately. So if you've cut corn out of your diet for one reason or another then read no further. But, if like me, you take an "all things in moderation" approach to diet and corn isn't on your naughty list, you're gunna love this recipe.

I found the original recipe where I'm finding most new recipes lately, Pinterest. Corn is such a great compliment when grilling but I was just getting tired of the same ole corn on the cob and this recipe looked promising. So I tried it. It was pretty good. Only I didn't like that it used Velveeta - processed cheese, yuck. And yes, you've seen recipes on this blog with Velveeta. But only a few and only because, for these few recipes, there's not alternative. But, for this recipe I didn't think it was necessary. I also thought the original needed some pep. Some oomph! It was just a bit blah. My family agreed that it was good but needed something to make it great. So I tweaked, and fiddled and came up with a pretty tasty corn casserole. . .

Here's what ya need: finely diced bacon, butter, minced garlic, AP flour, milk (I like whole.), cream cheese, grated pepper jack cheese, paprika, corn (Fresh or frozen, doesn't matter. I've only ever used frozen.), and some finely diced jalapeno pepper. I use just one pepper, seeded and diced finely. If you want a spicier dish use two or three or four peppers. As hot as you like it. You can also kick up the heat by keeping the seeds and center of the peppers and chopping those up as well.

In a deep saucepan, brown the bacon until nice and crispy.

Add the garlic and butter and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the flour and cook for another minute or two until the flour starts to brown. You're making a roux here. Now's a good time to change over to using a whisk. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Continue to whisk constantly and cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.

Add the cream cheese and pepper jack and whisk over low heat until smooth.

Remove from the heat and add diced pepper and paprika. Combine well. Then fold in corn. If the corn is still frozen then the sauce will get pretty stiff. That's ok. Just combine the corn and sauce well.

Put into a oven safe casserole dish and smooth the top. This is about a 3 quart dish.
Bake in a 375°F oven until top is brown. 35-40 minutes.

Ohhh, brown and bubbling. Let cool before serving.

This is the perfect summer pot luck dish. Who doesn't like corn with grilled meats? Think "spicy mac & cheese meets corn." And the left overs. . .fugetaboutit. You can totally kick up the spice by increasing the jalapeno pepper. If it's too spicy, just leave it out. You can also customize by using what ever cheese you like. Go crazy, get corny, whatever you do, make this dish!

Spicy Corn Casserole
serves 6-8

3 slices bacon, finely diced
3 T. butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. flour
1-1/2 C. whole milk
3 oz. cream cheese
1 C. shredded pepper jack cheese
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 t. paprika
1-1/2 lbs. fresh or frozen corn, off the cob

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cook bacon in a large saucepan until browned and crispy. Add butter and garlic and stir 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add flour and cook another 1-2 minutes until flour just starts to brown. Whisk in the milk and stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Turn heat to low and add cream cheese and shredded pepper jack. Stir until smooth and remove from heat. Stir in the jalapenos and paprika. Next add the corn, combining well. Transfer the mixture to a 3 quart oven safe casserole and bake for 35-40 minutes until browned and bubbling. Let cool about 10-15 minutes before serving.

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