Crisp, sweet New Hampshire corn is available now at farm stands and in grocery stores. If you’re looking for a few ways to put this local crop to good use, read on.
There are so many excellent ways to use corn, it’s hard to pick just a few. A classic corn dish is Shepherd’s Pie — a casserole-type of concoction that typically includes a layer of ground beef or pork covered with corn topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven.
Shepherd’s Pie has always been a hit with my family. This time around I thought I would change things up and swap out the mashed potatoes for mashed sweet potatoes. Using fresh, crisp and sweet local corn that was cooked then cut from the cob really made the dish extraordinary and full of flavor (and color).
I also wanted to come up with a corn bread recipe that actually has corn in it and isn’t a dry, bland, crumbly disappointment.
I used cornmeal and bread flour along with fresh corn and rosemary. Add local, farm fresh eggs and whole milk and a few other basic ingredients and I was thrilled with the outcome. I think the bread flour made a big difference here. This was the first time I thought to use bread flour in corn bread and the bread came out moist and tender.
My friend’s son is headed back to college next week so I invited him to dinner and offered to make him anything he wanted. After mulling over his options, he decided he wanted something with lobster. I think lobster and corn go together perfectly, so I suggested a lobster corn risotto for the occasion.
This was something I hadn’t made before, but the dish came together easily. I had some fresh sage and chives in the garden, which added beautiful fragrance and flavor; freshly squeezed lemon juice brightened things up and shaved Parmesan added an extra touch of creaminess. Sweet corn just cut from the cob was delicious in the risotto, and along with the lobster gave the dish a definite New England flavor. If you’re looking for a memorable dish to prepare for an occasion or for someone special, you can’t go wrong with this.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
3 ears of corn, husked
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups frozen peas
4 medium sweet potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped
4 tablespoon butter, divided
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh carrot, finely chopped
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos (or 1 tablespoon soy sauce)
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped, for garnish, if desired
Add corn to a large pot of boiling water and cook until the kernels are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and allow to cool. Cut the kernels from the cob and set aside.
Add the sweet potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium. Simmer the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, then drain and transfer to a bowl. Add half the butter and salt, then mash with a potato masher until smooth. Set aside.
Set a deep skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef and onion. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, using a spatula to break it into small pieces as it cooks. Add carrots, peas, Bragg’s liquid amino acids (or soy sauce) and vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the carrots are tender.
Remove from heat and transfer the beef mixture to a casserole dish in an even layer. Spread the corn over the beef mixture in an even layer. Spread the mashed sweet potatoes over the corn, then dot with remaining butter.
Cover with aluminum foil and set in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes; remove from oven and serve.
Rosemary Corn Bread
1 cup bread flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives
Add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk together. Add the eggs, milk, melted butter, half and half, sugar and honey to a separate bowl and whisk together. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine.
Fold in corn, rosemary and chives. Add the batter to an 8 x 8 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray and spread into an even layer. Set in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for about 25 minutes or until the bread is slightly pulling away from the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Lobster Corn Risotto
2 cups cooked lobster meat, chopped
16.9 ounce package arborio rice
2 (32 ounce) containers low sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic
11/2 cups frozen peas
2 cups fresh corn, cooked
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon lobster cooking base, such as Better Than Bouillon
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Add the chicken stock and lobster base to a sauce pan and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to keep the stock warm. Add the butter to a Dutch oven or deep sauté pan and set over medium high heat.
When the butter is melted, add the onion and garlic. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the rice and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the rice is slightly browned and toasted. Add the white wine and heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add enough stock to cover the rice and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Simmer the rice for 5 to 7 minutes then add more stock as needed so the rice doesn’t stick.
Continue to simmer, adding stock as necessary. Once the last of the stock is added, add in the lobster meat, lemon juice, corn, peas and salt and pepper and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
To serve, garnish with sage, chives and add freshly grated cheese. Season with additional salt and fresh pepper to taste.