Cauliflower & Hominy “No Mac” & Cheese with Roasted Corn & Poblano Peppers

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Ok – I admit it.  I am obsessed with both cauliflower & now with hominy.  Both are substitutions for things like rice and pasta & potatoes.  I love those things, too, but the cauliflower version is guiltless & the hominy has so much flavor & great texture without even the calorie count of rice.  There is some debating on the nutritional value of hominy (hominy is another name for dried maize kernels, and this common corn-based food is often made into grits).  From the internet:

Low in Calories

One cup of hominy contains just 119 calories. This amount is lower than the amount some other grains provide; for example, 1 cup of white rice provides 242 calories. If you switched from eating 1 cup of white rice to one cup of hominy each day, you’d save 861 calories weekly, enough to lose about 1/4 lb. without otherwise altering your diet.

Low in Fat
Hominy is low in fat, which makes it a good choice on low-fat diets. While low-carbohydrate diets are popular, research suggests that limiting fat intake may be a more effective dieting strategy. Fat is high in calories, and according to a review of research from the May 2001 edition of “International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders,” fat is less filling and promotes a lower rate of calorie burning than other nutrients. Thus, lower fat foods such as hominy may be preferable to low-carbohydrate but fat-rich foods for weight loss.

High in Fiber

Another benefit of hominy is that it is high in fiber. Each cup of hominy provides 4 g of fiber, a nutrient that can help you lose weight because it stimulates satiety. Fiber is important for a number of other roles, as it also aids in the regulation of your blood sugar levels, encourages a healthy digestive system and may help reduce your cholesterol levels.

Low in Sugar

Hominy can also be beneficial due to its low sugar content. Each cup of hominy provides just 3 g of sugar. A low sugar content is beneficial because too much sugar can promote tooth decay, obesity, and according to research from the August 2004 edition of “The Journal of the American Medical Association,” too much sugar can also increase your risk of diabetes.

Yet others say that they are sodium heavy.  I don’t care.  I love hominy!  Hominy is like giant, soft corn nuts that taste like corn tortillas.  In fact – hominy is what they make masa from which is what you make tortillas from – so – that is their flavor.   If you are fearful, maybe buy a small can & add it to your favorite macaroni & cheese recipe.  I do not think you will be disappointed.

My first effort with this dish was for Cinco de Mayo.  I made a boat load of this shit & had to throw away a large portion because it wouldn’t fit into my slow cooker.  My large slow cooker.

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It is the white one on the far right of frame.  I didn’t cook the cauliflower before putting it in the cooker & I had never made anything like this before & I was completely winging it & making it up as I went and I was very nervous about the result.  The result was that this dish was one of the most popular I have ever served.  I will post the recipe at the end of this blog but know – this is a recipe that could probably feed 20-30 people.  If you make it – even for your large slow cooker – cut it in half or be ready to bake the remaining stuff in casserole dishes.  No need for a 6+ pound can of hominy unless you really want to cater a party with this stuff.

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Also – because I had never tried a dish like this before – I choked and added actual macaroni to the slow cooker.  The smaller recipe I am posting today has no pasta in it.  Also – the ratio of poblano to the overall dish is greater in the smaller recipe so it has a green cast to it.  The huge recipe is yellow.  I didn’t think I was going to post the huge recipe so I didn’t properly document the process or the results.  Mac & cheese & other casseroles are kinda hard to make look pretty sometimes and that held true with both versions of this dish.  Here is a look at the huge recipe that included pasta:

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The smaller recipe has a ton of roasted poblano (pasilla) peppers in it and no pasta and looks like this:

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I went very heavy on the cheese in the large recipe (as you can see) but tried to keep the smaller one moderately healthy.  In fact – by my calculations – the smaller no-mac recipe has under 2800 calories in the ENTIRE recipe making each of the eight servings about 350 calories. That ain’t bad for something that seems so rich & decadent & is so amazingly delicious.  I actually liked the no-mac version better.  I hope you try one of them some day!

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PRINT THIS RECIPE

Cauliflower & Hominy “No Mac” & Cheese with Roasted Corn & Poblano Peppers

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

1 29oz can hominy (yellow or white – no matter)

4 ears fresh corn (or canned or frozen)

5 poblano peppers (or less if heat bugs you) – OR – a few small cans of green chilies

1 10oz can Cheddar Cheese Soup

1 cup milk

3 cups of grated cheese

4 oz fresh mozzarella (optional)

1/2 cup panko (or other) breadcrumbs

1 tsp salt

1 TBS pepper

Parsley – chopped for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Grill the corn in their husks & the poblanos over your burners until they are black on all sides.  Put the poblanos in a sealed plastic container & let them sweat while you peel the corn & cut the kernels from the cobs.  Then, under running water, peel off the black skins from the poblanos & seed them.  Puree the poblanos in a food processor.

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Boil the cauliflower (leaves & core trimmed) for about 10 minutes.  I like to cut the cauliflower into florets while it cooks or after I drain it because raw cauliflower crumbles & pops all over the place when you cut it.  Drain the cooked cauliflower.

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Drain the hominy.  In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower, the hominy, the pureed poblanos, the corn, the Cheddar soup, the milk and TWO CUPS of the cheese – reserving the last cup to top the casserole.  Add the salt & pepper & mix it all until blended.

Pour this mix into a greased casserole pan & top with remaining cup of cheese, fresh mozzarella & panko breadcrumbs.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden & it is bubbling up the sides.

Serve with diced parsley.  Fall in love!

PRINT THIS RECIPE

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And now for the ingredients of the HUGE recipe.  After grilling the corn & poblanos as explained above – all I did was put everything (or as much as would fit – throwing quite a bit away) into my slow cooker & left it on high for about 4 hours – stirring frequently.  Voila!

INGREDIENTS

1 6lb can of hominy

1 large head of cauliflower – cut into florets (steam them if you want this dish to cook faster than 4 hours)

1 lb dry macaroni – cooked & drained

4 poblanos – roasted, peeled & seeded & pureed

4 large red chilies (optional) – roasted, peeled & seeded & pureed

4 ears corn – grilled in husks & cut off the cob (or use some canned or frozen)

1 pint heavy cream

8 TBS butter

7 cups grated cheese

2 10oz cans Cheddar Cheese soup

2 cups milk

S&P to taste

OPTIONAL – a 4 or 7 oz can each of either hot green chilies or mild green chilies – or both

Let me know if you try this & your results.

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