Corn, Leek, and Chorizo Gratin

Here’s a great side dish to use some of that ubiquitous corn which as the lyrics go is “as high as an elephant’s eye” at this time of year. Diced chorizo, the slightly spicy Spanish sausage, fresh corn kernels, and chopped leeks are sautéed, then combined with eggs, half and half, and sour cream. Grated Gruyère and fresh chopped parsley provide more flavor. When baked, the gratin boasts a golden crust that covers a creamy custard mosaically studded with bits of sausage, corn, and leeks. This dish would make a fine garnish to barbecued chicken, grilled steaks, or sautéed pork chops.

Corn, Leek, and Chorizo Gratin

Butter for greasing baking dish
3 tablespoons olive oil plus extra if needed
8 ounces chorizo, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (See note.)
5 cups fresh corn kernels (5 to 6 large ears)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (3 to 4 medium leeks)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley plus 1 to 2 parsley sprigs for garnish

1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- x 13- inch baking dish.

2. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chorizo and sauté until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. To the same skillet add corn and leeks. Cook, stirring often and adding more oil if needed, until leeks and corn are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl whisk eggs, half-and-half, and sour cream together. Add chorizo, corn mixture, 1 cup of the cheese, and chopped parsley; mix well. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer this mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

4. Bake until gratin is golden on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove and let rest 10 minutes. (Gratin can be prepared 6 hours ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and reheat in a preheated 350 degree oven until hot, 15 to 20 minutes.) Garnish the center of the gratin with parsley sprigs. Serves 8.

Note: Chorizo is a highly seasoned pork sausage available in Spanish and Mexican varieties. For this recipe, use the Spanish type (made with smoked pork and already cooked), not the Mexican one (prepared with fresh pork). Wellshire Chorizo, available at Whole Foods, works well.

© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2011

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