Baked Squash with Chiles, Corn, and Cream (Calabaza Horneadas)
Reminiscent of New England succotash, this baked dish is full of fresh produce, Mexican spice, and rich creamy cheese. Trilling recommends serving this comfort food as a taco filling or alongside soup for a light supper.
- 5 ears sweet corn
- 3 poblano peppers
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large white onions, thinly sliced
- 1 small calabaza squash, peeled and cut in 1-inch wedges (or 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then in wedges)
- 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 36 squash blossoms
- 2 sprigs fresh epazote, leaves only (or 2 teaspoons dried epazote powder)
- 1 cup Mexican crema, créme fraîche, or sour cream
- Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste
- ½ pound queso fresco, crumbled, or quesillo, manchego, or muenster cheese
- PREPARE THE CORN: Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the ears of corn and set aside. Place the corn cobs in a 4-quart stockpot with 1 quart water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and set aside.
- PREPARE THE CHILES: Using a pair of tongs, hold a poblano over an open flame (either on a grill or over a gas burner on the stove). Rotate the pepper until charred all over. Repeat with remaining peppers. Place the peppers in a covered pot or brown paper bag to sweat, about 5 to 10 minutes. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, rub them with paper towels to remove the charred skins. Remove the stems and seeds, cut the remaining flesh into ¼ inch strips, and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Set an ovenproof heavy stockpot or deep cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the corn kernels, squash wedges, and garlic, and stir to combine. Continue to fry for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pepper strips and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Gently stir 1 cup of the corn stock into the corn-pepper mixture. Add the squash blossoms and epazote, and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the crema and season with salt and pepper. Top with the queso fresco (or whatever cheese you’re using), place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve with fresh hot tortillas.
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