Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baked Hominy and Green Chile Casserole

Hominy? Seriously? I'm not eating that stuff!

Let's get Mikey. He won't eat it. He hates everything!

When Grant invited Kristen to her first holiday dinner with our family, it was Easter, and they hadn't been dating very long. I asked him what she liked to eat. But, of course, he didn't know. So I asked Kristen what her family served for holiday meals that she especially liked. The answer came back immediately - cheesy rice. I asked how to make it.  But, of course, she didn't know. She didn't cook. Her aunt or mom always made it for her, she said.

I still wanted to have something familiar to make her feel comfortable at our dinner table, so I asked her what vegetables she liked. Hominy, she said. Now that was just plain weird! In all my years of cooking for family, friends and even strangers, no one had ever said they really liked hominy. It definitely is not a mainstream vegetable on restaurant menus, in cookbooks or in many homes, for that matter. So I went back to cheesy rice and probed a little more about that.

Turns out, cheesy rice was the same rice, cream of something soup, cheese and broccoli casserole from the 1950s. I was familiar with it -- except Kristen liked hers without the broccoli. That makes it Cheesy Rice! Kristen's family dinners and holidays always included a separate dish of Cheesy Rice just for her -- hold the broccoli, please. Easy enough, I thought, so I made her some Cheesy Rice. Only it was "not exactly" like the one her aunt and mom made. It seems Cheeze Whiz makes it real Cheezy Rice. Now I remember!

So, soon after that, I bought a couple of cans of hominy to keep in the pantry. I showed Kristen where I kept them and told her they were always there, if she preferred it to whatever else was on our dinner menu. To her credit, she has always been more than willing to try new things and has added many new foods to her list. The hominy languished in the pantry for quite some time.

I guess we all remember foods we hated as kids, but later have come to enjoy -- or even love. My list includes Chinese food, most seafood, beets, Brussels sprouts, ham -- and hominy. I remember tasting hominy once or twice as a kid and finding the flavor not at all to the liking of my timid palate. Giant corn that didn't taste exactly like corn!

When I tasted hominy again after all these years, I recognized the flavors of masa, grits, corn tortillas and tamales. Imagine that! Now that I've made the flavor connection with other foods I eat, I like hominy now too.

Not long ago, I came across a recipe for a hominy casserole, and decided to make it for Easter dinner. Kristen and I liked the simple version well enough, but since then I've reworked the recipe with a few ideas of my own, playing up to Mexican flavors. I loved it and MFH said it was good too! Another hominy convert!

I can't wait to have Kristen try this new version of my hominy casserole, although the green chiles might be a deal-breaker for her. We'll just have to wait and see. Who knows -- hominy with green chiles today, maybe broccoli in Cheezy Rice Casserole tomorrow!

He likes it! Hey Mikey!

Baked Hominy and Green Chile Casserole
2 cans hominy (white and/or yellow)
8 oz. sour cream
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup yellow corn meal
4 tbsp. butter, melted
¾ cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 small can chopped green chiles
½ tsp. ground cumin
several dashes Choulula (or favorite hot sauce)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Coat inside of baking dish with cooking spray. Pour mixed ingredients into baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with more shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top.

More recipes with hominy from food blogs:
Mexican Beef, Hominy and Green Chile Soup from Soup Chick
Green Chile Hominy Casserole with Chorizo from Homesick Texan


Maris (In Good taste) said...

You are so considerate! This does look good and something I would love to try!

Kristen said...

Great post, Cora!! Can't wait to try the new casserole! :)