It’s a big day here at Gravy Central. I have finally, finally gotten the original recipe from Hall’s Chophouse for their famous pepper jack creamed corn!
The recipe will also appear on a local website I’m now writing for, Charleston Grit, an online website affiliated with Charleston Magazine. I’m really excited about writing for this site, mainly because it’s been pushing me to go out and actually talk to people working in and creating this amazing food community I’m living in.
A few years ago we attended the Taste of Charleston, an annual festival at Boone Hall Plantation which showcases local restaurants. Our standout “taste” of the day was this pepper jack creamed corn which I blogged about back then. Since then, it’s been one of the most popular posts on the Gravy Train, and I even tried in vain to recreate it.
Top left: the outside of Hall’s Chophouse on a rainy day; top right: the original restaurant version comes served in a cast iron skillet topped with crunchy panko and chives
On a lark, I called Hall’s Chophouse and told them how popular their pepper jack creamed corn posts on my blog had become, and Chef Matthew Niessner graciously agreed to share his recipe with me. I was over the moon, and couldn’t wait to get in their kitchen to see how it’s done.
As it turns out, the pepper jack creamed corn is basically two main components — oven-roasted corn and their pepper jack mornay sauce, which was provided to me in a recipe that included massive proportions (think pounds and pounds of butter and gallons of milk). In other words, great for Hall’s Chophouse, which turns out hundreds of portions of this pepper jack creamed corn a night. For home cooks like you and me, however — well, let’s just say I don’t know where I’d even keep 100 portions of creamed corn, much less who I’d feed it to.
Anyway, after several test runs and some praying to the kitchen gods, I’ve come up with a slimmed down version of the Hall’s Chophouse recipe. Hopefully it will please your crowd as much as it did mine — they’re still talking about it, days later.
Recipe and more photos, after the jump.
Top left: freshly roasted corn from the oven; right: sauteeing onions, garlic and red bell pepper in butter
- 8 ears white corn, in husks
- ¼ pound salted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (substitute rice flour for gluten-free)
- 2 cups (1 quart) half and half
- 1.5 cups 2% milk
- ½ small onion, cut into small dice (approximately 1 cup)
- ½ red bell pepper, cut into small dice (approximately 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
- 1 cup sharp yellow cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon Crystal hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup chives, diced (optional)
- Arrange rack in oven to the center.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees; arrange corn in its husks in a single layer and roast corn for approximately 35-40 minutes.
- While the corn is roasting, melt ¼ pound of butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.
- Add red bell pepper, onion and garlic and saute for at least 10 minutes until onion is transluscent and red bell pepper is soft.
- Whisk in flour until it is evenly distributed and incorporated into the pepper/onion/garlic mixture.
- Slowly add milk and half and half, whisking vigorously to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is thickened, approximately 45 minutes.
- Add hot sauce and stir until combined.
- Add grated cheeses slowly and nutmeg.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Remove corn from oven when done but do not turn off the oven.
- Let corn cool slightly before removing from husks and cutting corn off of the cob.
- Add corn to approximately 4 cups pepper jack sauce in a large bowl and stir gently to incorporate (add more to taste if necessary, and freeze remaining pepper jack sauce for later use).
- Pour corn mixture into a greased ovenproof casserole dish.
- In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat and add panko bread crumbs, stirring continuously until bread crumbs are golden brown and toasted.
- Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of corn mixture and place in oven an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Garnish with diced chives, if desired.
- Serve immediately.