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Corn Maque Choux
This is my written interpretation of my parent’s recipe, but they never measured any of the ingredients and never recorded their steps. Every year after harvesting the corn from our large backyard garden, Mom and Dad would sit in the shade of our great big fig tree and shuck the corn. I can almost see them there now. The best, most uniform ears would be saved for “corn on the cob,” and the less uniform, but just as tasty, ears would be used for “corn maque choux.” This recipe is based on a pretty large quantity of corn, but you can scale it down to fit your needs.
Important: The key to making a good maque choux is to harvest the corn at the right time – when you can puncture a kernel with your thumbnail and white “milk” oozes out – and to properly cut it off the cob in such a way as to capture as much of the “milk” as possible. Here are a couple of tips for doing that: 1) Don't try to cut the kernels off in one deep swipe of the knife. Instead, cut through the lower part of the kernels just slightly above the cob so that you bust it open and capture as much “milk” as possible. Next, go back and cut the rest off and scrape the cob with the dull side of your knife to get every last bit of the “milk.” 2) It helps if you do this using two bowls – a large bowl to capture the cut corn, and a smaller bowl turned upside down and placed in the middle of the larger bowl. The small upside down bowl serves as a stand for the ear of corn you are cutting.
Corn Maque Choux Recipe
8 tbsp. butter (best with the real thing, but margarine/oleo will do)
3 cups onion, minced
2 green bell peppers, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
6 medium tomatoes, diced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups of sweet corn cut/scraped from cob
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne (optional, if you like it kicked up a notch)
3 tsp. Cajun/Creole seasoning (my preference is Tony Chachere’s)
1-2 tbsp. of heavy cream, for desired consistency
Heat the stick of butter in a large pot until melted, then add the onions, bell pepper and tomatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions are wilted.
Add the garlic and sweet corn (making sure to get all the milk you worked so hard to capture). Add the salt, cayenne and Cajun/Creole seasoning and stir.
Cook mixture over medium/medium-low heat for about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add a little heavy cream (1 tbsp. at a time) to get the corn to desired consistency. It should be slightly thicker than whole-kernel corn, but not as thick as creamed corn.
When done, let cool a bit then put in plastic bags to freeze. This recipe yields enough for me to put away five quart-sized bags, filled just enough to hold one meal-size portion. (Each bag is enough to serve as a side dish for about 6 people.)
My favorite way to eat corn maque choux is as a side dish along with a beef roast or baked chicken, with rice and gravy of course. And don’t forget the fresh homegrown tomatoes sliced and dashed with salt and pepper. Some people get creative with their corn maque choux and add crawfish, chicken or sausage to make it a stand-alone meal, but we always ate it as a side dish.
Tonnere mes chiens c’est bon! (That’s French from my Mom’s side. She was an Ardoin from Ville Platte.)
Hope you enjoy!
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