Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Cheesy Affair...

I was in love with Mac and Cheese.

Really, I was.

Then came living gluten-free... and I said farewell to Mac and Cheese. I know, I know... there are rice pastas out there that are delicious (Tinkyada, I love you!) But as many times as I tried, I just couldn't replicate the delicious texture and taste of a big wonderful bowl of homemade "cheesy-noodley-goodness".

But you know me... I'm a stubborn girl. Nan says so all the time. When it comes to cooking, I don't give up easily. When it comes to math, it's a whole different ballgame...

A lot of families make homemade Macaroni and Cheese on Thanksgiving. My family never did. But that didn't stop us from eating it the rest of the year. And we ate the good stuff, right out of that pretty blue and yellow Kraft box. You know the kind I mean. With neon orange cheese sprinkles in a little foil-lined package to make that gooey cheese sauce. Seriously folks, it was tasty stuff!

Today, I don't even have a box of Kraft in the house. I haven't in years. Not because I'm a snob, or because I'm now gluten-free... nope... I've just grown really fond of a good freshly shredded block of cheddar mixed with my pasta. Locally made, if possible. Okay, maybe I have become a little bit of a snob. No offense, Kraft.
Enter: Hominy.

Hominy is basically corn kernels without the hull. The online Merrium Webster dictionary states that: hominy is: "kernels of corn that have been soaked in a caustic solution (as of lye) and then washed to remove the hulls." The resulting corn has a different texture and taste then regularly cooked corn. After being cooked in this caustic solution, the texture of the corn resembles that of a dense pasta (similar to gnocci).

When hominy is ground it is called grits. And you already know how much this girl loves grits! In the southwest, large pieces of hominy are called "pazole" and often cooked in thick meaty stews. You may remember seeing Ginger's recent recipe for CrockPot Pazole, which uses hominy.

I made hominy for the first time several years ago and I used it as the pasta for homemade Mac and Cheese. I had forgotten about that tasty dish until just recently when I was simply ACHING for mac and cheese. I made this today for lunch and Michael gave it a thumbs up.

I think this will become a favorite fall comfort food in my gluten-free future. It's warm, buttery, and cheesy with crispy GF bread crumbs on top. It doesn't get better than that folks! If you eat Mac and Cheese at your Thanksgiving dinner, this would be an excellent gluten-free substitute... but love hominy because it's hominy and just plain good!

Gluten Free Cheddar Baked Hominy
created by Carrie Forbes of
free of gluten and soy
printer-friendly recipe

1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (29 oz.) can white or yellow hominy, drained
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1-2 tsp. garlic granules (my favorite is SPIKE)
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk milk and cornstarch together thoroughly. Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan and heat until sizzling. Add milk and cornstarch mixture. STIR constantly until thick. (If you do not stir, cornstarch will stick to bottom of pan and burn!) When thickened, add shredded cheese. Stir until thoroughly incorporated with milk mixture. Add seasonings and correct to taste. Take off stove and let cool slightly. Add drained hominy and mix thoroughly. Add beaten egg and mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased 2 qt. casserole dish and sprinkle GF breadcrumbs on top. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes until set and is bubbling around the edges.

Pin It!