Side dishes made from corn usually appear on the American Thanksgiving table and no wonder. Corn is truly an American dish. It is native to the Americas, central and southern and found its way to northern America. When Christopher Columbus arrived he found it waiting for him. He and explorers like him transported this little vegetable gem back to Europe where it caught on and was enjoyed by many people.
Native Americans called it mahiz and settlers gave it their own twist and called it maize. Mahiz means “that which sustains us” and it was truly what did to the people of the Americas. This crop is responsible for changing the life of the nomadic tribes and making them stay put in settlements. They no longer had to search for food, they could grow it themselves. The Pilgrims and other early American settlers would have starved to death if the Indians wouldn’t have showed them what to do with corn. They taught them how to make a mound in which was buried a small fish and then make a hole and drop a kernel in. The fish would fertilize the ground and the kernel would grow into a stalk of corn. They also taught them how to prepare corn to eat by pounding it into meal and making cornbread, soup, cakes and puddings. It is interesting to know that this was not the sweet corn we have today that can be boiled and eaten.
You can serve corn on the cob and niblets of corn in a butter sauce for Thanksgiving but why not do what the Pilgrims and Indians did and make your family a bit of Corn Pudding. It is easy to make and pretty good as well.
Indian Corn Pudding
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup butter
- 1-3/4 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups of frozen corn, thawed and drained
- Preheat an oven to 350 degree F.
- Separate eggs and in a mixing bowl place the whites reserving the yolks in a small bowl for later.
- Beat the whites with an electric mixture until they are stiff.
- In a medium skillet melt the butter.
- Add the flour and stir vigorously over medium heat until a smooth paste forms (this is called a rue).
- Slowly add the milk while continuously stirring and bring this mixture to a boil.
- Lower the heat and add the yolks, salt, pepper and corn.
- Mix in well and turn off the heat.
- With a rubber spatula fold in the egg whites until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 9 inch square or 2 quart baking dish.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
Another good recipe to create for Thanksgiving using corn is Cheesy Corn Casserole. This uses rice too and rice was also a staple of the early Americans.
Cheesy Corn Casserole
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 cup of cooked corn (use frozen or canned)
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 small green pepper, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup of cooked rice (use white but not instant)
- ¾ cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon Paprika
- Several strips of bacon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large bowl beat the egg yolks and add the corn.
- In a skillet sauté onion and green pepper in the butter.
- Add this to the egg mixture in the bowl.
- Fold in the cooked rice.
- Place half of the mixture in a greased 9 inch square baking dish or 2 quart casserole.
- Sprinkle half of the cheese and some salt and pepper over top.
- Cover with the rest of the corn mixture.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top and sprinkle on the paprika.
- Lay strips of uncooked bacon across the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked and the contents is bubbly.
Make these corn side dishes for Thanksgiving and you will not only have exclamations of how beautiful the turkey is. You will also get them for the corn.