Saturday, June 29, 2013

Skillet Shepherd's Pie

The fall harvest season wouldn't be complete without ears of Indian corn as part of decor in homes and businesses. From wreaths to centerpieces, and everything in between, Indian corn seems to be everywhere in October and November, except on a dinner plate. It's corn, but can you actually eat it? And where did it come from?

According to folklore, these colorful ears were named after the indigenous people of North America. They had been cultivating it for years when they introduced it to the Europeans who arrived in the Western Hemisphere in the 15th century. "Indian corn" isn't exclusive to the North American continent. Experts say that it grew in China, India and South America for centuries. And our ancestors didn't decorate with it, they ate it.

Unlike the niblets or corn on the cob that you serve at mealtime, Indian corn isn't sweet. It's also got a starchy texture when it's cooked. You could compare it to hominy, which is used to make grits. Indian corn can be ground to make flour, or the whole kernel can be reserved for popcorn. Ears with larger kernels are typically used for flour or cornmeal production, while those with small, pointy kernels are perfect for popcorn.

Indian corn's texture and composition aren't the most unusual things about it, its color is. Most of us are used to seeing yellow ears of corn. How could blue, red, gold and yellow kernels co-exist on the same cob? The Indian corn you commonly find at the grocery store is one of several hybrid varieties developed within the last 50 years. These calico patterned or speckled varieties of Indian corn result from cross pollination of single shaded plants. In addition to the multiple colored ears, there are solid ears in shades of white, ruby, blue and black.

Raw Indian corn is very hard, so trying to eat it could break your teeth.
Research Source: How Stuff Works
Shepherd’s pie is an old English dish, made with meat, vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes, and baked. This updated version is made on top of the stove. Perfect for summer.

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie
Copyrighted 2013, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.

1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 onion, chopped
1 (15.5 oz.) can corn, drained
cooked mashed potatoes

In a cast iron skillet, add ground beef, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke, stir and cook until no longer pink. Add onions, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in corn. Top with cooked mashed potatoes.

Place skillet under broiler, until potatoes are light golden brown. Enjoy!



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