It is the time of year, at least for me, where I have remnants–odds and ends–coming from the garden. A few rebellious plants refusing to be defeated by a light frost are still putting forth small amounts of tender vegetables. The real fall plants, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts haven’t yet committed to blooming. In my garden basket I have Silver Queen sweet corn, okra, and a few green peppers.
I make purloo, a simple but very satisfying one-pot of vegetables, rice and some sort of meat (meant more as a seasoning then an entree.)
Purloo is a dish of economy. It is a dish of diversity. It is a dish that tells many a family history simply by ingredients the cook chooses to use. It is of Low Country origin. Most likely a slave dish. It is meant to serve many and it is meant to be comforting. It is.
3/4 cup onion, small dice
1/3 cup green pepper, seeded and small dice
1/3 cup celery, small dice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups okra, cut lengthwise or into stars
1 cup sweet corn, such as silver queen
2 cups smoked turkey thighs, skin removed, chopped (or ham)
1 cup short grain white rice
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
fresh ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 400˚ F. Place a heavy bottomed 3 quart pot over medium heat. Add enough oil to the pot to barely coat the bottom.
2. Once the oil is hot add the onion, pepper, and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft but not brown.
3. Add the thyme, basil, marjoram and garlic. Saute, being careful not to brown the garlic, until they become fragrant. Add the okra, corn and turkey. Season the purloo again with salt and fresh ground pepper. Taste and adjust any seasoning necessary.
4. If the pan seems dry add a little more oil. Then add the rice and stir it around to coat the grains with the oil. Add the broth.
5. Grab the pot by the handle and give it a sharp shake so everything evens out and is distributed evenly. Bring the broth to a boil.
6. Turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and slide the whole thing into the oven. Immediately turn the heat to 325˚ F.
7. Set a timer for 35 minutes. At the end of thirty five minutes remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid and using a tasting spoon check the rice to see if it is done.
8. If it is not done, cover the pot and return it to the oven for 10 more minutes.
9. If the rice is tender, serve.
Nothing new, been done countless ways and yet if you get, grow or steal perfect sweet corn and make this dish you will continually come back to it again, and again, and again throughout the summer.
8 ears of the tastiest sweet corn, still in the husk, you can lay you hands on
2 cups grated hard cheese, Asiago, Manchego, or Cotija
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1. Soak the corn in a water filled sink for 2 to 4 hours.
2. Fire up your grill for direct heat grilling. While the grill is heating peel back the husks leaving them attached to the ear of corn making a handle. Remove the bulk of the silks but you are going to be grilling the corn so any remaining threads will burn off, this is one of the pluses of grilling corn. Combine the cheese and cilantro on a large plate. Combine the ancho and garlic powder.
3. When the grill is hot add the corn and cook it until tender. It should get splotches of brown caramelization if the grill is hot enough.
4. When it is done use a pastry brush to paint the ears with mayonnaise. Roll them in the cheese and cilantro crust. Then sprinkle with chile garlic powder combo and salt and pepper. Serve with a squeeze of lime.