Serves 4 small or 2 large portions
Tempering sweetness with heat, corn and chili make a perfect couple, which suprises no one who knows that corn and chili were born together in the same cradle millennia ago in Mesoamerica. Among the many foods that the Americas gave to the world, corn, chili, tomatoes, and potatoes are the Big Four, and this recipe uses three of them because of their affinity for each other. Adding chili to this classic colonial dish of fresh corn kernels stewed in butter or cream makes a jazzier inter-American dish. You can serve this as a first course or side dish in individual dishes, or as a main dish, doubling the quantities to serve four. Note: I've estimated that 1 ear of corn will produce 1/2 cup of raw kernels, but some corn ears will yield as much as 1 cup.
  • 4 dried chilies (any mixture of ancho,
    chipotle, mulato, pasilla,
    or whatever you can get)
  • 8 tablespoons ( 1 stick) butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 6 to 8 ears fresh sweet corn
    ( to make 3 to 4 cups kernels)

Discard the stems of the chilies. Break them open, shake out the seeds, and tear out the veins. Tear the chilies in large pieces and toast them in a low oven (200 degrees) for about 5 minutes. Pulverize them in a spice grinder and reserve. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onion, and sauté until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, seasonings, and the half and half and mix well. Stir in the pulverized chilies and let the mixture simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn kernels and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more.

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