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About nine years ago, I left my newspaper job and moved from Austin to Canyon Lake after I met my wife, Lisa, whose house was near the lake. One of the things I remember from living out there was reading an interesting little magazine that we got because we were members of Pedernales Electric Cooperative. I liked that little magazine because in the back I would almost always find an intriguing recipe that made me want to try it.
Now, almost a decade later, I find myself the one responsible for making sure those recipes are worthwhile. But I definitely couldn’t do it alone. I get plenty of help from my colleagues at the magazine, a bunch of excellent cooks who all appreciate good food.
Recently, we held our own staff recipe contest (with only bragging rights at stake), and the competition was stiff. Any recipe legitimately could have won.
Everyone’s favorite that day was supplied by Production Designer Andy Doughty. I’ll let him tell you about it:
My family usually has potluck dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was the “green-bean casserole guy” for a while, so I worked on that recipe until it got as good as it was going to get, but I wanted to try something different.
I don’t specifically remember where the “something with corn and green chiles” thought came from, but I know it’s a good combination, and I figured there were probably plenty of recipes floating around with those ingredients.
I still liked the idea of a comfort-food casserole for a holiday dish, so I followed my normal practice of searching various resources for interesting recipes, checking out the common elements along with the unique ingredients that sounded good, then building a recipe from there. I thought this dish would be savory, but I was surprised by how sweet it turned out. It’s a nice contrast, especially if you add just enough salt to punch up the sweet/savory interplay.
It’s also a pretty easy recipe to tailor to your personal taste. I went vegetarian-friendly on my version, but you can add four or five—or 12—strips of crumbled, crisp-fried bacon for more flavor. Or, add a cup or so of chopped, cooked chicken for a main-course casserole. You can also substitute three cups of cooked frozen or fresh corn for the cans of shoepeg corn and Mexi-corn. And you can adjust the time and temperature if you’d like a looser or tighter consistency.
Andy Doughty, Production Designer
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
1 pinch salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 can (11 ounces) white shoepeg corn, drained
1 can (11 ounces) Mexi-corn
1 can (16 ounces) cream corn
3 cans (4 ounces) diced green chiles
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
1 package (9 ounces) corn muffin mix
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, poblano and salt and sweat until onion is soft and translucent, but not browned. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, sour cream, egg, corn, green chiles and 1/2 cup of each cheese. Add the corn muffin mix and stir until moistened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour mixture into greased 2 1/2-quart round casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, top with remaining cheese, then return to oven for another 15 minutes, or until top is well browned.
Serving size: 1 cup. Per serving: 282 calories, 9.8 g protein, 17.1 g fat, 23.8 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber, 396 mg sodium, 66 mg cholesterol
Cook’s Tip: Make sure to add every bit of butter from the heating of the onion into the final mixture. There’s lots of flavor in there!