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Don Strange’s Corn Pudding

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“When Don (Strange) and his parents began to cater large parties serving their popular barbecue, Don wanted to serve side dishes that were also noteworthy, rather the same old menu of coleslaw, potato salad, and pinto beans,” writes Frances Strange in “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” (Shearer Publishing, $34.95). “He settled on Corn Pudding, which no one else served with barbecue, and it became one of the company’s signature barbecue side dishes in the 1980s. … Hard to beat a good side dish!”

This easy-to-assemble dish will also go great with Thanksgiving turkey, grilled steaks or whatever you’re serving.

Corn Pudding

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cream-style corn
3 eggs, beaten
1 (6-ounce) package Pioneer Brand corn muffin mix
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is wilted and transparent, about 5 minutes. Do not allow it to brown. Remove from heat and blend the onions and sour cream in a bowl. Mix well; set aside.

In a separate large bowl, combine the creamed corn, eggs and muffin mix. Turn out into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the onion mixture evenly around the baking dish in dollops. Scatter the shredded cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

Variation: Cornshuck Pudding

For a striking presentation at a formal seated dinner, serve Corn Pudding in corn shuck “bowls,” which are made by lining a large muffin tin or popover tin with corn shucks.

Soak 12 corn shucks in a large bowl of lukewarm water for about 45 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Instead of a baking dish, use a muffin tin with 12 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) cups; spray each cup with nonstick vegetable spray. Push a softened corn shuck down into each up, letting the ends extend upward. Set aside and make the Corn Pudding as directed in the rcipe.

To bake the individual puddings, spoon equal portions of the corn batter into the muffin cups. Spoon equal portions of the sour cream mixture into the center of each cup. Scatter the shredded cheese on top of each serving and place the tin on a large baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the enter of the cups comes out clean, for about 30 minutes.

To serve, grasp each end of the corn shucks and gently lift the puddings out. Place on individual serving plates and serve hot.

Makes 12 servings.

From “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” by Frances Strange with Terry Thompson-Anderson

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