Sunday, April 05, 2009


I love corn. I really do. So, what is it about the abuse of canned corn* that turns me off so?

*Please don't confuse this with CanCun. This is not a travel blog.

Really, canned corn is convenient and useful. You just open, pour and heat it.
(You should, however, keep cream-style corn away from children who might be corrupted by soft pour corn.)
Whole kernel corn has legitimate applications. I may think of some if you give me some time; could be a few years.

It tastes o.k. I'm just mildly appalled by the indiscriminate addition to so many recipes, such as black bean and corn salsa; to chili, and in casseroles. (The latter often baked in Corning Ware™, as if that would justify it.)

I just did something I rarely do: I committed the sin of canned corn abuse by opening a can of it and pouring the contents into a pot of Chipotle Chicken Chile I was concocting. This chili was improvised from various garish recipes on the Internet.

I based my version on one smoked pork chop, diced; most of a pollo al carbón that we bought alongside the road in Tzurumútaro. These are terrific broiled,
spatchcocked chickens (There he goes again, Mildred, with his smutty talk.); daubed with adobo and slowly grilled over a smoky charcoal fire. Fresh orange juice is squeezed on them at the finish, and a few shakes of salt and pepper.

In addition to the meats, I added a couple of small onions, chopped; one clove of garlic, chopped; one sweet yellow pepper (it's what I had on hand); one chopped chile chipotle en adobo plus its sauce; a tablespoon of pimentón de la vera. I use "La Chinata" brand, because I like the red can and the cool label. Sure; and some Mexican orégano and just a bit of cumin also. Too much cumin smells like sweat.

While the bones of flavorsome skin from the chicken plus the small pork chop bone simmered in a liter of water in a separate pot, I added two cans of S&W brand Italian style stewed tomatoes to the main pot.

Then I did it: I opened one can of S&W Whole Kernel Corn and tossed it into the pot. I pushed this tacky, trashy act into the bargain basement of my conscience.

After the bones had simmered 15 minutes, I strained the stock into the chili pot. I also added a heaping tablespoon of Knorr-Suiza Caldo de Jitomate powder. This may have put the salt a little over the top.

Not to forget the frijoles. They were about 3 cups of cooked frijoles vaquitas, which are called thus for their cow-like, black and white markings. (You'll probably never find these, so don't even try. You can use cannelini beans or common black beans.)

Just for "Authenticity"—hah!— I put a large, dried hoja de aguacate in. I did that because I know most of you can't get them, and that further enhances my smug sense of superiority.

Remove hoja de aguacate before serving, or else everyone will want one.

I slowly added about 1/3rd cup of quick white grits to thicken the juices a bit. This (and any other step) is optional, or as we say, "como te gusta."

When I tasted a few sample spoonfuls, it seemed a bit more picante than my sister-in-law, (who will be visiting us this week) might tolerate. So I damped down the picor (the bite) with the addition of the juice of two Mexican limes, and the juice of one naranja dulce. (Just a sweet juice orange, nada más.)

The chili tasted fine after simmering another 15 to 20 minutes. It's now cooling on the kitchen counter.

Now then; when you imagine the above concatenation of ingredients, each contributing their part towards the common good, ask yourself what the corn does.
It's there because it's too easy to do. As Constantino commented, it's "filler"

I'll close with this link to a truly frightening example of what can happen if you slide down the slippery slope of canned corn abuse. This can happen to you. (For Mature Viewers only, with strong stomachs.)

PS: you can, if you like, serve this with a blob of crema (thinned sour cream), queso rallado, and chopped cilantro on top.
Pass the corn chips.


Anonymous said...

that recipe sounds delicious-i'll have to try it sometime minus the things we can't get here. by the way, if you have such a strong dislike for canned corn, why do you even keep it in your pantry? i love canned corn and use it on salads as well as in some of the other uses you mentioned.

i've never read your blog before but have seen your comments on others. is that what don cuevas looks like? looks like anthony quinn to me.

have a great day.

teresa in lake stevens

Don Cuevas said...

Teresa, thanks for your comment.
As I stated in the first paragraph,
"I love corn. I really do. So, what is it about the abuse of canned corn that turns me off so?".

I like to use canned corn in a selective, discriminating way. I'm a little saddened that I expressed myself in an unclear manner . Corn chowder is a good use for canned corn, for just one example.

About the photo of Anthony Quinn: It's become recently fashionable among a few expat gringo bloggers to adopt a photo of some notable person. For example, Felipe Zapata and Alfonso Bedoya.

It's part of my online persona, nada más.

Don Cuevas

Tancho said...

You can just call the corn, fillers and other ingredients.
Sounds good, I will have to try adding that to my pot next time, sometime I will soak some old, past useful tortillas chop them up fine and toss them in, for that added flavor.
You inspired one menu item for this weeks dinner, one of my downfalls is to serve it with tons, of chopped white onions.....yuuumm!

Don Cuevas said...

Constantino (Alfonso Bedoya); we had some of the Chipotle Chicken Chile for breakfast, on steamed white rice, lavishly sprinkled with chopped cilantro.

We expat gringos are a manly breed. Doña Cuevas excluded, of course.

(I think I'm hanging around Felipe too much.)

Saludos, Don C.