Give Your Creamed Corn An Upgrade With Rich Evaporated Milk

Creamed corn
Creamed corn - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Silky, satisfying, and delicious, creamed corn is the perfect side dish for holiday meals or family gatherings at any time of year. The dish as we know it today has Midwestern and Southern roots, but it's a favorite comfort food in numerous parts of the United States. The dish can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned corn, and while many recipes call for a sauce made with milk or heavy cream, evaporated milk is an underrated choice that might become your new favorite.

Typically sold in convenient cans, evaporated milk is milk that has been heated to remove 60% of its water content. This rich and concentrated product can be made with whole, low-fat, or skim milk, and the full-fat version adds a thick, velvety texture to soups, sauces, mac and cheese, and of course, creamed corn.

Evaporated milk is not to be confused with condensed milk, which is evaporated milk sweetened with sugar. Plain evaporated milk works perfectly for both desserts and savory dishes. Since creamed corn walks the line between sweet and savory, the uniquely rich and subtly sweet qualities of this dairy product serve to lift up the dish's classic and comforting flavors. It's also easy to use, to boot -- you likely won't miss the cream.

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Incorporating Evaporated Milk In Your Creamed Corn

Bowl of condensed or evaporated milk
Bowl of condensed or evaporated milk - AtlasStudio/Shutterstock

Evaporated milk is thicker than regular milk, and it also has a light caramel flavor that enhances the inherent sweetness of corn. A product made with whole milk will give you the richest creamed corn, but if you decide to use a reduced-fat version, remember that lower-fat milk is more likely to curdle at high temperatures than the full-fat stuff.

After combining your evaporated milk with seasonings, cheese, and whatever else you like to include in your recipe, bring it to a boil on the stove. If you're using a lower-fat product, it's best to immediately reduce the heat to low. Stir the creamed corn frequently to ensure the dairy doesn't burn at the bottom of the pot. This shouldn't be hard, as most recipes only cook the corn for a few minutes.

You can also give your stove a rest and make creamed corn in the slow cooker. The beauty of a slow cooker is that you can toss in all your ingredients at once and set it to cook on low for 3 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours, only stirring it every so often. No matter if you use the stove or the slow cooker, there are other ingredients you might want to include to flavor and thicken the sauce further.

Other Ingredients For Tasty Creamed Corn

Creamed corn with garnish
Creamed corn with garnish - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Evaporated milk will help make your corn nice and creamy, but when cooked, it can become thinner in consistency. A great thickening agent is cream cheese, which is commonly used in creamed corn to boost the velvety texture. It also adds a tangy yet mild sweetness. Before adding it to your pot, cut the block of cheese into smaller cubes so it melts faster and blends into the sauce evenly.

Some recipes also call for using both evaporated milk and heavy cream for a full-flavored, super-rich creamed corn. If you have a carton of half-and-half sitting in your fridge, feel free to use that to make your creamy sauce. Half-and-half is thinner than the other dairy products we recommend here, but you can always add more cream cheese to thicken it up.

Other ways to thicken your sauce are to add flour or simmer the pot on low for longer, which allows moisture to evaporate. Flour also works great to thicken up runny canned cream corn in a flash. Once you have the consistency just right, boost the flavor of your corn with add-ins like chili flakes, chives, garlic, parmesan cheese, or parsley. Add some cheddar or asiago cheese for a great cheese pull, or bacon for a smoky meatiness. Your family and friends will thank you when they try this upgraded creamed corn at your next party or outdoor barbecue.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.