Welcome to Lazaro Actually Cooks Saturday
I love my father, he is one of the nicest people you ever want to meet, but he is not a cook. With that said, the old man has his few courses he prepares that he is particularly proud of. One of these is called, Guiso de Maiz, a rustic Cuban corn stew. Since it is Father’s Day, I thought it perfect to highlight this wonderful stew.
Florida sweet corn is one of the best crops my state produces. June marks the end of the Florida sweet corn season until August. There is nothing better than cutting the kernels fresh off a cob. Traditionally this stew is made with tomato, I omit it. Mostly because I love the sweet subtle flavor of fresh corn combined with Vinagre de Jerez, or Spanish Sherry vinegar and that is enough acid.
Calabaza or West Indian pumpkin is another important component of the dish. You find this used extensively in Caribbean cuisine and by extension in Miami. Traditionally, the stew is served chunky and rustic. Well that’s not my style. In my cuisine I puree and strain 95% of my soups, stews and sauces. I prefer my guests to enjoy silky mouthful after silky mouthful. The garish for the soup is diced Calabaza, sweet corn, browned pancetta, and fresh culantro.
I had so much magnificent corn in my kitchen that I decided to make Frituras de Maiz or Miami-style corn fritters. Check them out after the stew. Yeah, this post was pretty corny…no doubt!
Guiso de Maiz
2 tbs grape seed oil
4 oz chorizo – diced- (casing removed)
2 leeks – (white and light green parts only)
1 roasted red bell pepper – diced
2 shallots – minced
3 tbs Vinagre de Jerez – Spanish Sherry Vinegar
8 cups vegetable stock – recipe below
1 boniato – diced
1 cup Calabaza – (peeled & diced)
8 large ears corn, kernels removed – 4 cups
Sea salt & white pepper
Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook till browned. Add the leek, roasted red pepper, and shallots. Cook until vegetables are tender – 6 minutes. Add the vinegar, veggie stock, boniato, and calabaza. Reduce the heat to low. Cover with parchment lid and cook for 20 minutes
Add the corn. Season with sea salt & white pepper. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup completely. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.
For the Garnish:
Sweet corn kernels
Fresh Culantro - chopped
In a sauté pan brown the pancetta. Add the diced calabaza and cook for 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 2 minutes.
1. Mound the garnish of pancetta, calabaza, and sweet corn in the center of the bowl.
2. Sprinkle with chopped culantro
3. Pour the stew around the garnish.
1/2 pound leeks – (white and light green parts only) - chopped
½ pound yellow onions – chopped
¼ pound of carrots – peeled and chopped
1 fennel bulb – trimmed & chopped
¼ cup canola oil
2 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
1 large bunch of marjoram
Chop all the vegetables in a food processor. In a stockpot, cook vegetables in canola oil over medium-low heat for 8 minutes. Add the bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, and enough water to cover. Simmer for 50 minutes. Skim frequently to remove impurities. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
Note: Freeze any leftover stock immediately for later use.
Frituras de Maiz:
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 tbs AP flour
½ tsp Fleur de Sel
3 organic eggs
1 tbs unsalted clarified butter
Puree the corn in a food processor. In a glass bowl, combine the corn puree, flour, and fleur de sel. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix well. Add the clarified butter. Mix well to completely combine.
Heat the corn oil in a heavy bottom pan to 350 F. Using 2 spoons shape the fritters to your desired shape. Drop into the oil and fry till crisp and golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Pat down with paper towel to remove as much excess oil as possible.
1/4 cup Fleur de Sel
Grated zest of 1 lime
Combine the salt and lime zest in a bowl. Mix well to incorporate. Leftover salt can be frozen for later use.
Whipped Chive Crème Fraiche
½ cup crème fraiche
½ bunch chive – chopped fine
In a glass bowl, whip together the crème fraiche to a desired consistency. DO NOT OVERWHIP! Gently fold in the chopped chives.
1. Assemble corn fritters on a plate.
2. Spoon a dollop of whipped chive crème fraiche on each fritter
3. Sprinkle some of the lime salt
4. Garnish with fresh chervil
That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!