23 December 2009

comforty corn pudding

Cooking preparations for Christmas Eve are at full-tilt frenzy in my kitchen. My main dish contribution has morphed into hors d'oeuvres, a side and whatever else may inspire me between now and when Ballard Market closes at 11 p.m. I've had a pork shoulder slow-cooking all day in beer, onions, garlic, brown sugar, crushed tomatoes and a spice blend worthy of a mad scientist. The sweet/spicy smell of the pig, coupled with melodic bubbling sounds has been intoxicating the past several hours. When I go whole hog in the kitchen (sorry, couldn't help myself), I tend to make Southern-inspired sides, like brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots, mashed sweet potatoes, garlicky steamed greens, or one my easy favorites, corn pudding. It's fancier than corn bread and its custardy consistency is deliciously decadent.

I've tried several recipes, but here's how I like to make it:

5 eggs
1/3 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk or half and half
4 Tbs cornstarch
2 16 oz. bags of frozen sweet corn (Use fresh when in season. The kernels from 4-5 ears of corn should be plenty.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. (I like to use an oversized ramekin style dish.)
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs and sugar. Whisk in cornstarch.
Defrost sweet corn (one minute in the microwave will soften it) and place in food processor with melted butter and milk. Chop until it reaches a chunky consistency(you still want some corn texture here).
Stir this corn mixture in with the egg/sugar mixture.
Pour into prepared dish.
Bake for one hour, or until surface is slightly browned around edges and center is firm to the touch.

Optional: add finely chopped green onions, red pepper, cilantro or jalapeno for added flavor.

Flickr photo courtesy of flydime

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