Comté & Jalapeño Cornbread

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6

  • For the creamed corn*:
  • 75g butter, unsalted
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 fresh corn cobs, the kernels cut off
  • 125ml single cream
  • 50g mature Comté (18 to 24-month), finely grated
  • *You can sometimes buy creamed corn ready-made from supermarkets, but it’s tricky to find in the UK - and quite easy and delicious to make yourself using fresh corn cobs.
  • For the cornbread:
  • 220g quick-cook polenta (I use the Polenta Valsugana brand as it’s widely available)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
  • 460g creamed corn (see recipe above, or you can use tinned)
  • 150g vegetable oil
  • 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 230g soured cream
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 fresh Jalapeño chilies, seeds and ribs removed, flesh finely chopped (these can be left out if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 100g mature Comté, coarsely grated

Adding a French twist to this fiery, tasty treat from America’s southwest, this is a special side dish to make for a romantic dinner at home. As it makes enough for quite a few people, if I’m just making it for two, I like to share the love (and we all need some of that these days): 10 minutes after it has come out of the oven, cut it into large wedges and wrap each one in foil, then drop it round to some neighbours for them to enjoy it warm, which is when it’s at its very best.

 

Method

First, make the creamed corn:

  1. Heat the butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat until it starts to foam, then add the onion and fry for about 12 to 15 minutes until the onion has softened, but do not let it brown.
  2. Add the kernels of corn to the pan with 125ml cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium (or lower if it’s bubbling), cover the pan and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the single cream, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes more. Stir in the Comté and leave to cool, then weigh out 460g of the corn mixture (if there is any leftover, you can keep it in the fridge to eat another time) and blitz half with a hand blender or in a food processor, then mix it together with the unblended half.

To make the cornbread:

  1. Heat the oven to 190℃ (170℃ fan) and butter the inside of an ovenproof baking dish or cake tin that’s about 20cm x 20cm (it can be a little larger, though you may need to knock a few minutes off the cooking time as it will cook faster in a larger dish).
  2. Put the polenta, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and stir through a balloon whisk to mix it together and remove any lumps.
  3. In another bowl, mix the creamed corn, oil, egg and soured cream, then mix in the onion and chillies. Immediately stir this into the dry ingredients to form a lumpy batter.
  4. Pour half the batter into the baking dish or cake tin and sprinkle over three-quarters of the cheese, then pour over the rest of the batter and top with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes until the surface feels firm and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the dish or tin for 10 minutes, then cut it into wedges and eat it straight away.

Comté Recipe 2021 © Laura Pope 2021

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