Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cuisine: Tex-Mex Cheesy Corn Casserole

Today, was a Margaret day. It meant a good meal and some wandering. I always enjoy these days. After a lovely lunch at Kate's Kitchen and letting Walter back into the house, we found our way to an LGBTQ spiritual gathering that Cindy invited us to. It was wrapping up, and afterwards Margaret told Cindy about our common shoulder aches. Cindy offered some acupuncture at her office a few doors down. We couldn't resist. It was wonderful and healing.

Later, we walked her dog and drank some tea. It was casual meandering with good friends. A perfect unplanned day.

The evening ended with Cindy driving me part the way home. As we rode down Divisidero, she told me about her love of corn chowder. I'm not a huge fan of corn chowder, but her description of it made me crave it or something like it.

I got home and opened the freezer. There was corn. I immediately set to find recipes among the myriad cookbooks on my shelves. After some tinkering, the Tex-Mex Cheesy Corn Casserole was born.

2 anaheim peppers, whole
1 pasilla pepper, whole
3 jalapenos, whole
2 small yellow onions, quartered
1 head garlic, cloves broken apart
3 cubes bullion
2 1/2 cups water
2 tsp tex mex chili powder
3 bay leaves

2 cups frozen corn, thawed

1 cup buttermilk
6 saltines, crushed

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

8 oz munster
4 oz parmesan

Turn the oven to broil. Place the peppers, onions, and garlic in a cast iron skillet or oven-proof baking dish and put it in the broiler. Check every 3-4 minutes turning when needed. Remove when all sides have browned.
Notes on roasting
Onions - Leave the dry, flaky outer layer of the onion on. Place the onions skin side down on the baking dish. Remove onions when outer layer is dark brown. Remove it and one more layer. Cut off tips and roots.
Peppers - Make sure to rotate the peppers frequently. After you remove the peppers, place in a bowl and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes. Peel and remove seeds.
Garlic - Keep the skin on the cloves. The garlic cloves is perfect when it is a nice golden brown color on all sides.
Dice all onions, peppers, and garlic. Set aside.

Boil a large pot of water. Add rice. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain setting aside 2 1/2 cups water. Set the rice aside.

Mix buttermilk and saltines together. Set aside.

Mix bullion cubes, water, peppers, onions, garlic, tex-mex chili powder, and bay leaves together in a large sauce pan. Add corn. Cook covered for 10 minutes. Cool.

Using a food processor, blend one half of the corn mixture into a coarse cream. Pour into a bowl. Place the second half of the mixture in the food processor. Pulse mixture two to three times. Pour into the bowl. Mix in buttermilk mixture.

Grate the munster and parmesan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X9 baking dish. Place half of the cooked rice in the bottom of the pan. Layer half the corn mixture on top of rice. Layer half of the cheese on top. Layer the rice. Layer the corn mixture. Top with cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes until edges are brown and bubbling. Cool for 10 minutes.

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