Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spicy Creole Corn (Corn Maque Choux)


1 can Corn
1 can Tomatoes, diced
1 Habanero Pepper, diced (use less for a milder recipe)
1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 cup Onion, diced
1/4 cup Celery, diced
3 large cloves of Garlic, chopped OR 2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Salt

Optional: 1 cooked and diced Potato, 1/2 cup chopped Green Onions and 1 cup Cream Cheese. Add to the Creole Corn after cooking and stir together well. This makes a great dip for parties.

Stage 1:

Saute the onions, peppers, celery and fresh garlic together on high heat until the onions begin to turn clear. This high heat is what pulls all the flavor out of the vegetables as well as a nice smoky taste from the slightly burnt edges. I prefer to use olive oil to cook with, but a traditional recipe would be butter or animal grease (e.g. the juices left in the pan after you cook sausage or ground meat). Once the onions are almost clear, add in the tomatoes and salt and turn down the heat to a nice simmer; low to medium heat. If you are using the garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic, here is where you would add your garlic. 

Stage 2:

Let the Creole Corn cook down until the celery is cooked to taste. I like my vegetables still crunchy and alive, so I take my corn off the stove after about 20 minutes or so. If you're not sure, taste a spoonful after the 20 min. mark (cool it off first though!) and decide if you like the texture or not. If so, then you're ready to serve! If not, then continue the checking cycle every 10 minutes until satisfied. 
Remember: the whole dish will continue to cook as it cools off for the next 10 minutes or so. I always pull my corn off the stove when the celery is cooked through but still crunchy. That way, by the time the dish makes it onto someone's plate all of the vegetables are well done, but the crunch is still present in the dish to give a nice texture. 

Stage 3: If you wish to make the dip instead of a vegetable dish for a meal.

Once the corn has come off the stove, add the green onions, cooked potatoes and cream cheese. Stir well. The cream cheese will melt into the fresh-off-the-stove dish, and the reticent heat will tone down and half cook the green onions. The potatoes I usually cook in the microwave for 2 minutes, flip, cook for 2 more minutes. If the potato overcooks and becomes "mushy" it's not a problem. Remember, this is a dip, so the "mashed" potato mixes in well. I leave the skin on and chop well. The skin houses most of the nutrients in a potato (same as carrots and apples) and also adds great texture to the dish. 

Viva vegetables! Don't let them overcook!

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