Have a pantry full of cans to use up? Chances are you probably have a can of sweet corn in there. Today we’re going to transform that can of golden kernels into a creamy, cheesy, classically decadent side dish using just one pan for cooking.
What is Creamed Corn?
Creamed corn originally is made from sweet corn and the milk from the pulp on the cob. Over time, the corn milk has been replaced or supplemented with dairy milk, cream, or thickening agents like corn starch or tapioca flour.
Our Approach to Homemade Creamed Corn
When you think of canned food, you probably think, bland, boring, one-note foods. Our approach to our creamed corn recipe is to take this preconceived notion and develop a deep, complex flavor profile in simple steps using just one pan.
Our southwest creamed canned sweet corn recipe will be following the more modern interpretation of the dish with a bechamel of butter, flour, milk, and cream for the “creamed” component of the dish. We’ll also be introducing heat from jalapenos, along with protein and a smoky flavor from the bacon.
Our creamed corn recipe is a textbook example of developing and layering flavors together.
- We will be using bacon fat instead of oil. Bacon fat will do everything oil does but brings so much more flavor and texture to the recipe. Obviously, this is not as healthy, but for dishes that are already a cheat day, why not go all out?
- We will be browning the corn and jalapenos. When we brown the corn we are not only changing the color but the flavor and texture as well. Browning the corn gives it a stronger outside texture and a nuttier flavor. Browning the jalapenos in the corn and bacon fat will allow the peppers to sweeten up as well as disperse their heat compounds into the oil and eventually the rest of the dish.
We do not recommend using sugared bacon for this dish. We use bacon to provide oil for cooking as much as the flavor. Sugared bacon often leaves caramel or burned sugar in the pan which counteracts the lubrication of the oils. The dish will already be a little sweet from the corn and cream.
If you do want a lighter version of this recipe, replace the bacon with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Also, reduce the flour to ½ tablespoon, and skip the cream and cheese.
What Pairs with Creamed Corn?
Here are the tools you’ll need to make this creamed corn dish:
- Chef’s Knife for slicing bacon and dicing peppers
- Medium Size Cutting board to cut the peppers and bacon on
- Can opener (if your canned corn does not have a pull top)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Small microwaveable bowl or cup to soften the butter and mix the flour in
- Wooden Spoon
- Cast Iron or other oven-safe pan: If you want a baked top you’ll want this to minimize the dirty dishes. If you do not have any oven-safe cookware you can use a casserole dish but baked cheese can be tough to wash at the end of the day.
- 1 can yellow sweet corn (If making fresh, use 2 corn cobs)
- 1 jalapeno
- 1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices of ¼ inch thick cut bacon, 6-8 of thin cut)
- 1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted is fine)
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons cream (optional)
- 1 cup melting cheese
Here are a few helpful tips about some of the ingredients needed:
- Flour: You can use anything between ½ to 1 tablespoon of flour. ½ makes a thinner end product, while 1 tablespoon will make it a little closer to a pudding consistency.
- Milk: We are using Horizon Low Fat Organic and shelf stable milk which conveniently comes in 1 cup packs. The fat percentage in the milk does not matter, so you can use the standard milk you normally buy.
- Cheese: We are using colby jack in our recipe, but you can substitute mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, monterey jack, or any other common melting cheese. Avoid sharp hard crumbly cheeses, as they don’t melt smoothly and can result in a grittier texture.
- Cut bacon into quarter inch strips
- Cook bacon on medium high heat until crisp
- Dice jalapenos and shred cheese (if not pre-shredded)
- Remove bacon from the pan
- Add corn and jalapenos to pan on medium heat
- Microwave butter in a small bowl for 15 seconds or until melted
- Add flour to the butter bowl and mix thoroughly into a paste
- Once corn has browned, add the butter flour mix to the corn in the pan
- Immediately follow with 1 cup milk and stir constantly until sauce thickens
- Add cream (optional)
- Add in bacon and mix everything together in the pan
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Top pan with shredded cheese
- Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown
- Remove from oven and serve