Welcome to week 34 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Kansas, who joined the union on January 29, 1861. The name Kansas is from a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind”. It is part of the area included in the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, and Stephen H. Long explored the region between 1803 and 1819. The first permanent white settlements in Kansas were outposts established to protect travelers along the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails.
Today, Kansas is a huge agricultural state, where wheat fields abound. An interesting fact about wheat in Kansas; in both 1991 and 1997, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to provide everyone on Earth with six loaves of bread! It befuddles me that anyone in our country goes hungry when I read something like this. SMH.
In addition to wheat, Kansas is also known for cattle, and when I went looking for a recipe it was obvious that the cooking gods wanted me to sit around a barbecue and produce some sort of fantastic brisket. Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. For as much as I love to cook, the grill is not my territory. And besides, it would have been so obvious that even my biggest fans would have thought it was a cop out.
So I continued to investigate and found out that in addition to cattle and wheat, Kansas also produces corn, beets and oats. With that, I discovered that along with good barbecue, Kansas is also very proud of its side dishes, and in particular Cheesy Corn Bake.
Interesting story. I have a friend named Steve who is originally from Kansas. He is quintessential barbecue, and regularly breaks out the smoker to spend a whole day cooking up tasty meats of all sorts. He is especially good at ribs and likes to try out all different kinds of rubs. I have been over to his place many, many times and one thing that often shows up on the table is a side dish of cheesy corn goodness. He always just called it corn casserole, but little did I know that it was an iconic dish from his state. When I started reading the recipe, I immediately knew that it was Steve’s corn dish and knew I just had to make it myself.
I was already familiar with Cheesy Corn Bake, and the recipe I found did not disappoint. It comes together super fast and is a great accompaniment to ribs, chicken or brisket. It is pretty rich, so you don’t need a lot, but I will warn you that you will find yourself picking at it if it’s left on the table. A little decadent, but a true crowd pleaser that I encourage you to add to your next barbecue gathering. Your guests will love you.
Since I am not a barbecue goddess, I had some yummy ribs courtesy of Costco, as some roasted romanesco on the side. A great dinner all around.
Enjoy and see you next week in West Virginia.
Cheesy Corn Bake
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup milk
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (3oz) pkg cream cheese, cubed
1 (14oz) pkg frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
4 oz ham, diced
- In a large saucepan, melt margarine or butter. Stir in flour and garlic powder. Stir for 1 minute.
- Add milk all at once. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
- Add the cream cheese and continue stirring until melted. Add the cheddar and stir until melted.
- Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until melted. Stir in corn and ham.
- Transfer mixture to a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.