OK, so I know this is not a pretty dish. It’s downright ugly, is what it is – for photographing anyway, but when it’s sitting in front of you on your plate, you can’t help but want to dive right in. It’s flecked with red onion, scallions, and bacon for goodness sake!
And it’s topped with cheese, and there are two cheeses on the inside – and sour cream.
That’s three rich dairy items, my friends.
This is one of those baked dishes that makes family members wander into the kitchen and say, “Mmmm. What’s that smell?”
And it’s one of those side-dishes that people at potlucks will remember. . . and hope that you bring next time.
It’s something that’s fancy enough that it can go with a holiday dinner (I know we just finished Christmas, but I’m thinking this would go incredibly well with an Easter ham too.)
It’s also something that can be made ahead and served with a roasted chicken or something off the grill later.
I’m even sort of thinking you could throw in something substantial like diced chicken or ham, or black beans, or chicken sausage, and you’d have a one-dish meal.
This particular recipe was inspired by two different sources – one of my favorite food blogs, and Ina Garten. Both recipes appeared in my life at the same time, and I struggled over deciding which one to try first. Then I realized that at least half of my family members don’t like cornmeal, so I decided to take a different route to get the pudding/bake-like effect.
It makes your home smell warm and cozy.
It makes your taste buds do a little jig.
Potato Corn Bake with Bacon and Roasted Peppers
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 green bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and sliced* (see instructions below if you’ve never roasted a pepper)
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1 (11 ounce) can Whole Kernel Sweet Corn Niblets, vacuum packed, (or
15.25 ounce can regular packed, drained)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled Queso Fresco
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar, divided in half
5 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
Shake of Cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 scallions, sliced for sprinkling on top
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare a 2 quart casserole dish (mine was 11″x7″) by coating with cooking spray.
Combine Panko crumbs and buttermilk in a small bowl and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the roasted green pepper and next six ingredients. Add in 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, and shake of cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add in Panko mixture, stir again. Transfer ingredients to baking dish, spread evenly. Top with last 1/2 cup shredded cheddar.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and the edges and top are golden brown. Serve warm, topped with scallions.
* To roast the green bell pepper, place it on a foil-lined cookie sheet under the broiler. Turn it with tongs as each side blackens. When all sides are blackened, remove from the oven, still on cookie sheet. Cover it well with foil, trying to seal in moisture – remember to continue using your oven mitts – it will be very hot. When the pepper is cool, peel away the charred skin and discard. Cut in half, remove stem and seeds. Slice as desired.
Source: Sara, with inspiration from Pinch of Yum and Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style Sagaponack Corn Pudding.