I chose corn for this week's secret ingredient because it is the quintessential seasonal ingredient. So very good when it is ripe - sweet enough to eat raw (like in this Crunchy Corn Salad) - and so very dull when even slightly out of season. I've been interested in making my own creamed corn since last summer. It turns out that the creaminess of the corn isn't from dairy, but from the starchiness of the corn itself.
To prepare the corn, lay it on its side and shave off just the top of the kernels so that it looks like the picture on the right. Then take the back of your knife and get all the pulp and "milk" out. I even recommend wringing out the cob. You would be surprised how much you can get out of a fresh ear of corn.
All that pulp and liquid came from 8 ears of corn. When combined with the kernels you cut off, there should be equal parts kernels, pulp, and liquid. You can add a bit of water if need be. While you are doing this, fry up some bacon.
Caramelize one large onion, then add in the corn mixture. Let that cook at good 15 minutes before adding the thawed lima beans (you can use fresh if you can find them). Stir quickly and frequently while that cooks together.
These are the secret to my succotash - roasted hatch chiles. Central Market just wrapped up their Hatch Chile Festival and I was able to get a bag of about 25 roasted hatch chiles for $5. I removed the skin and seeds, chopped them up and added them in along with halved tiny tomatoes. I topped the succotash with bacon and served alongside some chicken sausages.
Creamed Corn Succotash
6 slices thick-cut bacon
8 ears very fresh corn
1 large onion
8 oz frozen lima beans, thawed
1 pint baby tomatoes, halved
5 roasted hatch chiles (or green chiles, or roasted red peppers), stems and seeds removed, chopped
1. Shave the tops off the kernels of corn and then collect the pulp and milk from the cobs.
2. Fry 6 slices bacon in a heavy cast iron dutch oven. Reserve bacon and pour off all but 3 tbsp. of grease.
3. Caramelize onion in the grease, then add in corn mixture. Cook 15 minutes over medium-low heat.
4. Thaw the lima beans in the microwave and add to the pot. Cook 20 more minutes.
5. Add the chiles and tomatoes. Cook 10 more minutes.
6. Crumble bacon over the top and serve hot!