Today we have an entrant for the first course of the Diced! competition. Contestants were instructed to create or find a recipe for an appetizer, soup or salad containing the following ingredients: Corned Beef, Canned Corn, and Corn Flakes. They were instructed to make their dish and create a blog post about it, including pictures. You can help determine who advances to the next round. After the last post, I will post a poll where you can vote for contestants to move on. Vote for the post you like the best. You can vote because of the inventiveness, the yummyness, the use of ingredients, the quality of the writing and pictures or for any other reason. The poll will be active for one week only. Check back and vote. In the event of a tie, the Ranting Chef will choose who advances. More information about Diced! can be found here.
Due to the generosity of the following companies, we have some really awesome products as a prize to the winner of this Diced! competition. In addition to the prizes below, I am working to secure additional ones. The winner will receive:
- Mr Bar-B-Q 20 Piece Gourmet Tool Set
- The following products from Talisman Designs
- Dodo Book for Cooks - This is a great book for anyone in the kitchen. It has places to put your favorite recipes as well as handy conversion charts.
Today’s contestant, Emily, when she is not watching bad reality TV or going out on even worse dates, she is the proprietor of Dinner is Served 1972, a blog dedicated to the culinary horrors of the American mid-century kitchen (this means lots of unflavored gelatin and a good deal of variety meats). She lives in Baltimore with a giant cat named Brian.
Corny Cheddar Chowder with Chesapeake Onion Straws
There was obviously a theme with special ingredients for this edition of DICED! Corn, corned beef, corn flakes, Corny Collins. Oh, you say that Corny Collins wasn’t one of the special ingredients? Well, that’s where my mind kept going.
If you’re unfamiliar with Corny, he is a character from Hairspray—both the original directed by John Waters and the Tony Award-winning musical. Which subsequently became a movie starring John Travolta in a fat suit. And drag. Let’s just say that Travolta is no Divine. Nor Harvey Fiesrtein.
Whatever. Corny is played by super-hottie James Marsden.
So because of the Corny Collins thing, my mind kept going back to this song because Baltimore I have lived in Baltimore for the past 3 years.
Oh, but back to the food. The first thing that I thought of when I got the ingredients was chowder, because corn-crab chowder is one of my top-5 favorite soups. And I make it at least once a year, so I had a bit of an idea of where to go with it.
So the corn was covered. Corned beef? I typically use bacon as the base for my corn chowder, so I just swapped diced corned beef for the bacon. Why not?
So let’s see how this went down, shall we?
Corny Cheddar Chowder
- 6 oz corned beef
- ½ stick butter
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 lb potatoes, cubed
- ¼ cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- 8 cups broth
- 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar
- 2 cans corn, drained
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 can evaporated milk
- Extra cheese for topping (specifically horseradish cheddar if you can find it)
Dice corned beef. Cook in large pot until brown and crispy. Remove from pot. Melt butter and sauté the onions until soft. In the meantime, clean, peel and cube potatoes. To the cooked onions add ¼ cup flour and salt and pepper to taste. Add the broth and potatoes. Bring to boil and then simmer until potatoes are cooked—about 20 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, open and drain the corn and chop the red pepper. Shred the cheese if you didn’t buy pre-shredded cheddar.
After the potatoes are done, add the corn, red pepper, evaporated milk, and ¾ of the corned beef bits (the other ¼ will be used as garnish). Stir. Add in the cheese and stir as it melts. Season.
So at this point I’ve covered the corned beef and the canned corn. But because I kept thinking about Corny Collins—I had to give this a little Baltimore twist with the corn flakes—so bring in the Old Bay!—I made Chesapeake Onion Straws.
I totally lifted the Ree Drummond method for the onion straws (because I have never made anything like this).
But I went rogue and subbed crushed corn flakes for regular ol’ flour and in lieu of cayenne pepper I threw in Old Bay, the official spice blend of the Baltimore metro-area. And, like bacon and cheese, Old Bay makes everything better. For serious.
Chesapeake Onion Straws
- 2 small onions, sliced very, very, thin
- 1 qt buttermilk
- 4 cups crushed corn flakes
- 1 tbsp Old Bay
- Canola oil
The instructions are pretty simple. And obvious. Soak sliced onions in buttermilk overnight. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Cover buttermilk-soaked onions in corn flake mixture. Fry in oil until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
To serve, I topped the chowder with extra cheese (the horseradish cheddar is especially good here), onion straws, and some of the reserved corned beef bits.
I am not going to say that I was surprised that this was tasty—because I was working off a recipe of my own that had been successful before. But I did like the little changes this time around. The crispy onions and the Old Bay really worked nicely in contrast to the sweetness of the corn and red pepper. And who knew that corned beef could be cooked up into Bacos?
OK, play me out Corny.