Creamy Corn, Cheese and Bacon Casserole

Kel's Creamy Corn Cheese and Bacon Casserole

There are few foods that I dislike and cream corn is near the top of that list. Until now. I guess that’s because the only kind of cream corn I’ve tried has been that out of a can, which is totally disgusting as far as I’m concerned. As a kid I don’t remember having to eat it whenever we had it for dinner, probably because I loved almost everything else so my parents let me slide.

I was looking for a recipe for a corn and cheese casserole that did not include any type of bread and ran across one from Saveur.com that looked great, mainly because it included a pièce de résistance: bacon. Fresh corn, cheese AND bacon — I knew I had to give it a try. We are all glad that I did – everyone loved it. I changed the recipe some by doubling the bacon (no surprise there) and adding some red bell pepper and sweet onion. What a rich, creamy, sweet yet slightly smoky casserole that melts in your mouth! The only thing I would do different next time is to triple the bacon.

Ingredients (Serves 12)

Kel's Cafe Creamy Corn Casserole Ingrredients

  • 8 slices of bacon, cut into quarters (omit the bacon and bacon grease for a meatless version)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sweet onion, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese (made with 2% milk), shredded
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (I used low-fat), softened
  • 2 oz. Velveeta® cheese (I used reduced fat), cubed
  • 3 ½ cups (about 6 ears) fresh sweet corn kernels (you can use frozen corn)
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook bacon over medium heat in a 6-quart saucepan until it is nice and crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and discard all of the grease except 1 tablespoon. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble it into small pieces.

Saute bacon

Add the butter to the bacon grease and heat until melted. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Stir in the flour, a little bit at a time. Slowly whisk in the milk, a cup or so at a time, stirring constantly to keep the mixture smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and keep stirring until the mixture thickens.

Smooth white sauce

Add the cheddar, cream cheese and Velveeta® and stir until blended.

Blend in cheeses

Stir in the corn, red pepper and bacon and mix well. Season with the paprika, salt and pepper.

Add corn, peppers, bacon

Spoon the mixture into a greased 9”x13” casserole dish (I use cooking spray). Sprinkle the top with some more paprika and ground pepper.

Ready to bake

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top starts turning nice and brown. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Kel's Corn casserole out of the oven

Serve as a side dish with chicken (or some other meat) and a salad. And don’t be surprised when people go back for seconds!

Let's eat!

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Follow Kel’s Café on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kelscafe

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