Corn is a popular side dish wherever you go because it is so versatile and can be sweet or made to be savory. It is often boiled or grilled on the cob, but we chose to remove the kernels and sauté them with jalapeno and orange bell pepper. We seeded the jalapeno pepper and still found it to have plenty of heat, but if you really want more heat, you can certainly leave the seeds in. Sprinkling with cotija cheese adds a nice flavor to the dish, but you can leave it out or use parmesan or feta cheese if you can’t find cotija cheese. It is a great side dish to have with steak, pork, or fish. It could also be altered to become an actual entrée if you would prefer. For cutting the corn kernels off of the cob, we used a bunt pan to catch the kernels as they came off of the cob. It is a handy trick that works really well. We found it to be extremely delicious.
4 Corn Cobs – cleaned and kernels removed
1 Orange Bell Pepper – seeded and diced
2 Jalapeno Peppers – seeded and diced
1/2 cup Cotija Cheese – crumbled by hand
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add the corn, orange pepper, and jalapeno peppers to the skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft and the corn is fully cooked and starting to brown. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with small crumbles of cotija cheese.
Living in Colorado, we are surrounded by states that embrace southwestern flavors. Whether visiting New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, or our own state, southwestern flavors can be found everywhere. Tacos, burritos, Huevos rancheros, enchiladas, guacamole, and all kinds of peppers can be found on menus in almost every city. We have tried to recreate several of the dishes that we’ve had during our travels throughout the area as well as we have some of our own that we’ve grown up eating.
Southwestern food is full of spices and packed with flavor, but usually it is just a mild heat. Some places offer the choice of sauce to put over your food, usually ranging from mild to hot, with the green sauce usually being the hottest. One nice thing about southwestern food is that the same flavors work with different types of proteins like pork, beef, and shrimp, but it can also be made to be vegetarian as well. Since we like to share anyway, the portions are usually large enough for us to still have leftovers to take home with us.
As we get ready to leave for Moab, Utah tomorrow, we expect that we will likely find many southwestern options available to us when we arrive. Hopefully we’ll find some of the creative dishes that we found in Scottsdale, Arizona and Sante Fe, New Mexico. We don’t have a favorite type of food, but we certainly enjoy good southwestern dishes when we are in the mood for something a little spicy.
When we were in Sante Fe, New Mexico, we had a very tasty grilled corn and chipotle soup. We asked the restaurant for the recipe and they were nice enough to print it out and give it to us. Since corn is in season right now, we decided to recreate this recipe, but we changed it up to suit our tastes. We really liked the way that our version turned out, it had just the right amount of spice. One of the nice things about a recipe like this is that you can control the amount of heat that you add so that it can be more or less spicy depending upon your taste. Also, the combination of the fresh corn and frozen corn makes for a mix of crunchy and soft that makes the texture of the soup very pleasurable. We served ours with a nice toasted baguette bread, but a fried tortilla like the restaurant used would also be good. We also garnished ours with a couple of slices of jalapeno that had been deseeded, but clearly it isn’t necessary. This recipe serves two, but it could easily be adjusted to serve more. We hope that you enjoy it!
5 Ears of Fresh Corn
8 oz of Frozen Corn
1/3 can of Chipotle Peppers with Sauce – finely chopped
1/4 cup Red Onion – chopped
3 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp White Pepper
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Butter
Salt to Taste – generous amount
Black Pepper to Taste
Remove the corn kernels from the husks of fresh corn and sauté them in a cast-iron skillet heated over medium-high heat with the oil and butter. If you prefer, you could grill the corn whole on a grill and then remove the kernels, but we chose to cook them in the skillet. Salt and pepper the corn and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, and then add the red onion to the corn. Cook for another 5 minutes and then remove from heat. In a medium sauce pan, add the cream, corn and onions, frozen corn, white pepper, cumin, garlic, and salt. Add about a third of the chipotle peppers with sauce and start heating the soup over medium heat. You want to just bring the soup to a slight simmer and avoid bringing to a full boil. Taste the soup and continue to slowly add chipotle peppers with sauce until it is as spicy as you would like.