Double Corn Polenta with Ham and Pickled Chipotles

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This dish doesn’t look all that great, but it sure was tasty! I got the idea for polenta (or grits) with corn from Mimi. When I saw her post, I responded that I had never seen local fresh corn on the cob. Lo and behold, soon after I did see fresh Dutch corn on the cob, and picked up two ears. When buying the corn I had not really decided what to do with it, but on the train ride home tonight I decided to make something with a Southwestern touch in honor of Mimi (and to humor Richard). You see, Richard has been responsible for turning me into perhaps not a chilehead  but certainly an occasional lover of chiles. The flavors of the polenta, ham, pickled chipotle chiles, thyme, and parmigiano blend together into one wonderful flavor that is complemented by the crispy sweet corn. For half an hour’s work this is a great weeknight meal. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

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For 2 servings

2 ears of fresh corn on the cob, husk and silk removed

125 grams (2/3 cup) finely ground corn flour

100 grams (3.5 oz) ham, diced

2 Tbsp minced pickled chipotle chiles (about 3 chiles)

25 grams (3 Tbsp) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

3 Tbsp butter

salt

chile powder

6 fresh thyme sprigs + 1 Tbsp thyme leaves

Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 225ºC/450ºF. Season each ear of corn with salt and chile powder. Dot each ear of corn with a tablespoon of butter (in pieces) and wrap in aluminum foil.

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Bake at 225ºC/450ºF for 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, but 500 ml (2 cups) of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the corn flour (the Italians say to let it ‘rain’ into the pan) while stirring. This procedure prevents lumps.

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Lower the heat once the polenta boils, and cook for 20 minutes over low heat, stirring regularly.

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Render the fat from the layer of fat of the ham in a frying pan (if the ham does not have a layer of fat, you could also use an additional tablespoon of butter).

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As soon as the fat has rendered and the cracklings start to brown, add the remaining ham and cook for a few minutes.

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Add the thyme leaves and the minced chipotles and stir for a minute.

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Add about two tablespoons of water to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat.

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When the corn is done, take it out of the foil to cool.

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As soon as the corn has cooled enough to handle, cut off the corn kernels with a large knife.

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Add the corn kernels to the pan with the ham and stir.

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The polenta should now be done as well, which you can tell because it will detach from the sides of the pan.

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Add the polenta and the parmigiano to the pan.

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Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and/or chile powder.

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Serve.

Flashback


This ‘Greek’ pasta salad with roasted vegetables and feta cheese is great for summer (while it lasts).

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