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Author Notes: I host a big Thanksgiving spread each year for my local family and the friends I consider family. One of my friends contributes "Shoepeg Corn Casserole" every year, because it's one of her family's traditional dishes. It contains canned shoepeg corn and green beans in a tangy creamy sauce, topped with a layer of buttery crackers. I found a recipe that seems similar to what she brings (she's not much for sharing family recipes), and used it as inspiration: http://www.food.com/recipe/shoepeg-corn-casserole-4734
I used a homemade sour cream béchamel because I'm not a big fan of condensed soups. I also swapped the canned corn for frozen, and eliminated the green beans (odds are a green bean casserole will already be on the Thanksgiving table). I used smoked gouda as well as chives and thyme for extra flavor. A thick blanket of buttery cracker crumbs and a sprinkle of fresh herbs finish the dish. It's rich and delicious -- perfect fare for a celebratory meal. —hardlikearmour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (plus enough to butter the casserole pan)
- 8 ounces butter crackers
- 1 cup minced shallot (about 2 very large shallots)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 pint sour cream -- full or low fat, but not fat free
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne to substitute)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces smoked gouda - cut into smallish cubes
- 2 pounds frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 cup minced chives
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- herbs for garnish -- parsley, dill, chives, chervil, and tarragon are all good options
- Preheat oven to 350º F with a rack in the upper middle position. Butter a 13- by 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 6-quart pot or dutch oven over medium heat. While the butter is melting bash the crackers into crumbs with some larger (1/4- to 1/2-inch) pieces remaining. Transfer crumbs to a bowl, then drizzle melted butter over them. Toss to mix well. Set aside.
- Melt remaining butter in pot over medium heat. Once it's foaming add the shallot and garlic. Cook until the shallots are translucent, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Add the flour, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Whisk in the milk in 3 increments, then whisk in the sour cream. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture is boiling add the bay leaf, nutmeg, Aleppo, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove the bay leaf, and stir in the smoked gouda. Remove from heat and stir in the corn, chives, and thyme.
- Transfer the corn mixture to the prepared baking dish, and spread into an even layer. Cover with an even layer of cracker crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the corn mixture is bubbling around the edges and the crackers are lightly browned.
- Set dish on a cooling rack, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Shower on some herbs for garnish, and serve.
- NOTES: Dish can be prepped ahead up to the cracker crumb layer. Add the cracker crumbs just before baking. If baking refrigerated dish, allow for an extra 5 minutes or so of baking time.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Family's Best Thanksgiving Recipe