Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

This corn casserole is great in any season with fresh or frozen corn. Serve alongside Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes. It’s even good for breakfast.

mexican-corn-casserole

Here I am posting a corn recipe in the winter, what’s up with that? I know, I know, but I made this again the other night and it’s so good, I can’t put it off until fresh corn is back in season. And frozen corn is always in season at the supermarket so here you go.

The original recipe called for jarred Alfredo sauce. Sorry, but yuck. Call me a snob but I don’t like jarred sauces – too much sugar, not enough fresh-tasting flavor plus god only knows what else is in there.

Instead, I made a white sauce with Parmesan – close enough and easy enough. I also substituted feta cheese for cotija cheese. Next time I make this, I’ll add about 1/3 cup of diced red bell pepper to the onion for a pop of red in the final dish. I didn’t have any cilantro — a sprinkling of green would have been nice too.

Mexican Corn Casserole

You’ll need a large oven-safe pan, small saucepan

  • 2 tablespoons butter and/or olive oil
  • 2/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 cobs of fresh sweet corn (or 2-1/2 cups frozen corn)
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated feta cheese
  • Optional: feta cheese, chopped fresh cilantro and chili powder for garnish

Preheat oven to 400. In a large oven-safe pan, melt the butter (and/or heat up the oil) over medium-low heat. Cook the onion in butter for 5 minutes. While that’s cooking, cut fresh corn off the cob (or thaw frozen corn) and use the back of the knife to scrape out the milk. Once the onion is tender, add corn to the pan along with the green chiles. Cook another 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour. Let the flour cook until it’s pasty and takes on some color, but don’t let it brown – that will take about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, lower the heat and continuing cooking for a few minutes or until the sauce thickens. Take off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Stir the white sauce, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and the feta cheese into the corn mixture. Smooth out the top and clean off the sides. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and just coloring on the top. When it’s done, if you wish, top with more feta cheese, cilantro and a sprinkling of chili powder.

Adapted from Mexican Street Corn Casserole, Lauren’s Latest.

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