Corn Pudding with Leeks and Bacon
This perfect pudding is side dish gold, an ideal supporting actor any time of day or year (and tasty enough to steal the lead course’s thunder). Try it with your turkey on Thanksgiving, or match it with your Easter ham! Of course you can savor this on any old day as well- no special event required. The vibe here is sort of a corn-studded, crustless quiche lorraine- it’s fab on a brunch menu btw! This recipe is a spin on my late summer corn pudding, only doubled and flavored with the classic French combo of bacon and leeks. Leeks are from the onion family, only milder and sweeter. Don’t be daunted if you aren’t used to working with them! Just remember that you only need to use the white and light green parts of the vegetable (save the tops for making stock- they are too tough for just about anything else). Also, make sure you give them a good rinse! Dirt and sand like to hang out in their little crevices, so make sure to wash them well. The sweetness of the leeks perfectly compliments the corn here- bring savory bacon into the mix and oh boy do you have a party! I like to bake the whole thing in a water bath- this is not as complicated as it sounds. Simply place the dish holding the pudding into a larger baking dish or roasting pan and place both into the preheated oven. Pour water into the larger pan so that is rises halfway up the sides of the smaller dish. This helps the custardy pudding cook more evenly. I made this recently for a cooking demo in individual
ramekins and they turned out great- if you choose this route, check them at 30 min to see if they are set. You can also make this dish up to 2 days ahead- simply reheat in a warm oven until hot. Enjoy!
prep time: 15 min cook time: ~1 hr. serves: 8-10
INGREDIENTS 6 oz bacon, diced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned well and thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from 4-6 ears corn
ground black pepper
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup reduced fat milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
pinch of grated nutmeg
2 cups grated aged white cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 375° with a rack set in the middle. Add the bacon to a large skillet set over medium heat and fry until crisp. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and pour off all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat. Add the butter to the same skillet to melt and toss in the leeks. Saute about 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add the thyme, corn, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few cranks of black pepper and saute 3-5 minutes more, until the corn is bright yellow and cooked through. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, half and half, and sour cream. Add the corn meal, nutmeg, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper and whisk to combine. Fold the leek/corn mixture, bacon, 1 cup cheese, and the parsley into the batter. Pour the mixture into a greased 9” X 13” baking dish and scatter the remaining cheese over the top. Place the dish inside another one large enough to hold it, and set them both in the oven. Carefully pour water halfway up the sides of the smaller dish while they are inside the oven to create a water bath. Close the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the center is just set (test with the tip of a knife) and the top is browned. Serve warm. * To make ahead, prepare pudding and bake as written. Let cool and wrap in plastic up to 2 days ahead. Reheat gently in a 350° oven uncovered until heated through, about 20-30 minutes.