Friday, June 11, 2010

Southwestern corn and squash bake

Looking at the vegetables I have on hand this week, I knew I wanted to pair the squash and corn. I had a fair amount of Southwestern flavorings left over to work with and a chunk of mild white cheddar that was close enough to monterey jack. No real plan here; I just threw it all together in some vaguely sensible manner.

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 smallish yellow peppers, chopped
1/2 summer squash, thinly sliced
3 ears corn, stripped from their cobs
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped
equal amount of pickled jalapeños, chopped
6 ounces pulled brisket in faux barbecue sauce
1 handful cilantro, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup double-cream white cheddar cheese, shredded
parmesan and bread crumbs to cover
salt and pepper and chili powder and cumin and oregano and hot sauce and such to taste

I heated the butter and olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat until the the butter melted, sizzled and settled down. Then I threw in the onion and peppers with a pinch of salt and sweated them until they softened the the onion turned translucent. Then I added the squash with some spices and let it cook down while I harvested the corn from the cobs. After a few minutes I added the corn, turned the heat up a little and cooked for five minutes until the corn was just turning tender.

Then I took the pot off the heat and added the chipotle and pickled jalapeño, brisket (with its sauce) and cilantro, mixed well and poured out into an 8"x8" baking dish. After it had cooled a bit, I mixed in the cheddar and the eggs whisked into the milk and cream, adjusted the spices, topped with the mixed breadcrumbs and parmesan, covered with foil and baked at 350 degrees for a half hour, removed the foil and baked for 15 minutes more and then gave it five more minutes under the broiler.

Here's the result:
The structural integrity isn't quite where I'd like it; Next time, I'm mixing the bread crumbs in. But even if it falls apart into a bowlful of creamed corn, it's nicely rich and full of flavor. The corn is tender but still has a bit of crunch to it. It's sweetness, surprisingly pronounced, contrasts with the several different sorts of spiciness and the savory brisket. The acid from the pickled jalapeno (and the hot sauce) cuts through the richness. Kind of trashy I admit, but really pretty tasty. Could use more squash, though. And, I just now realized that I've got a can of black beans that I should have thrown it. That would have been pretty good too.

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