Sweet Corn with Maple-Bourbon Brown Butter and Bacon is a mouthwatering, 15 minute side dish bursting with layers of flavor!
Farmer’s Market recipe alert! Are you going this weekend? Somebody’s turning the big O-N-E on Saturday, plus we’ll have gazillion family members in town, so unfortunately I think we’re out. Luckily I stocked up on fresh-picked sweet corn at the market last weekend to make you a must-try summer side dish that’s so good I am squinting my eyes while racking my brain to come up with a better adjective than “so good” to convey just how delicious it is.
It’s not working.
Sweet Corn with Maple-Bourbon Brown Butter and Bacon is sticky, caramelized, smokey, sweet and savory. Plus it’s got maple syrup, bourbon, brown butter, and bacon. I. Know.
Guys, I’m so excited about this recipe and I almost didn’t even post it! Every other week or so I plan the following two week’s recipes and this baby’s been rescheduled about 10 times throughout the summer. I knew I wanted to combine sweet corn with butter, maple syrup and bacon (a flavor combo I got from the fresh maple-bacon compound butter Hy-Vee was selling earlier this summer,) but I just didn’t know how.
I could slather the combo on steamed ears of corn but that was too obvious. Maybe grilling the corn first would give it a little somethin’ somethin’? Eh. Still not that exciting plus sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who gets excited about charred sweet corn.
Then…bam. Bourbon! And brown butter! I’d borrow a nip of Ben’s thrice weekly smokey bourbon night cap then combine it with pure maple syrup, brown butter, and maple bacon to create a truly magnificent summer side dish that takes just 15 minutes to prepare, and will seriously knock your socks off.
The sweet corn caramelizes in the maple syrup as it sautees in brown butter, and the bourbon flourish provides a crazy depth of flavor. Plus, bacon. This combo is deliciously unique and totally elevates my home state’s signature summer staple, sweet corn. If you’re tired of steamed cobs, you’ve got to give this a try!
Start by crisping 4 slices chopped maple bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. If you have regular bacon at home, don’t buy a whole pack of maple bacon just for this recipe. The maple bacon makes it extra special for sure, but no need to buy an entire pack if you’ve already got regular bacon on hand!
Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain then remove all the bacon grease from the skillet (I usually pour it into a foil-lined prep cut then toss when hardened.)
In the same skillet melt 3 Tablespoons butter. I am proud to announce that I am a new ambassador for Challenge Butter this year which means I will be developing recipes using Challenge Butter over the next 12 months. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!
Challenge Butter was founded nearly 100 years ago and is made with 100% real cream butter with nothing artificial. Pure buttah = pure taste, baby. Thinking about trademarking that. Anyway, right now Challenge Butter is hosting an online instant-win game called the “Real Summer, Real Flavor” sweepstakes where you can win cookware, cash, and free products. Go play!
Ok, time to get serious.
Next, brown the butter which sounds technical but takes like, 10 seconds and yields pretty much the BEST THING EVER. After the butter melts it will start to foam and that’s when you want to start swirling the skillet on the stovetop until the butter turns a beautiful caramel brown color and starts to smell indescribably delicious. You need to brown your own butter to experience what I’m talking about. Doo iiit.
After the butter turns caramel brown add 4 cups fresh sweet corn kernels (about 3 ears worth) plus 2 chopped green onions then season the heck out it with tons of salt and pepper. Toss or stir to get every kernel of corn coated with luscious brown butter.
Time to bring out the big guns. Bourbon and pure maple syrup. Ahh! What a blissful combo. I can’t even remember my life BB (before bourbon.) it’s got such an incredible aroma and flavor, and takes this sweet corn from good to freaking amazing. I really need a thesaurus.
Also, I just nearly had an anxiety attack thinking about how I was going to explain the difference between whiskey and bourbon to you (all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Ugh. See? My heart just started pounding typing that out,) so click here to read all about it this handy infograph >> In addition, as bourbon is a distilled spirit it is considered safe for a person with Celiac Disease to drink. That said, I know this subject is debated in the gluten-free world so do what feels best to you.
Moving on! All you need is 2 teaspoons bourbon and 1-1/2 teaspoon maple syrup to give this sweet corn unbelievable depth of flavor and a hint of something really special. If you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of bourbon, Maker’s sells those wee, itty-bitty bottles that would be perfect for this dish. Man I love those things – look how cute!
Turn the heat up slightly then once again toss or stir everything to combine. Saute for 7-8 minutes, stirring every so often, or until the sweet corn is tender and caramelized.
Add the bacon back in then taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Scoop onto plates then serve with BBQ chicken, shrimp, or whatever your heart desires. Whatever it is, it’ll surely take a back seat to this amazing side dish!
Sweet Corn with Maple-Bourbon Brown Butter and Bacon
Serves 4-6 as a side
4 slices maple bacon, chopped
3 Tablespoons Challenge Butter
3 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off cob (about 4 cups)
2 green onions, chopped
2 teaspoon bourbon
1-1/2 teaspoons real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
lots of salt and pepper
- Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until crispy then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and set aside. Remove bacon grease from skillet.
- Melt butter in skillet then, when it begins to foam, start swirling skillet until the butter reaches caramel brown in color. Add sweet corn, green onions, bourbon, maple syrup, salt, and pepper then turn the heat up slightly and toss to combine. Saute for 7-8 minutes or until corn is tender and caramelized, stirring every so often. Add bacon back in then taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Gosh I’m smiling at the memory of this side dish. It’s perfect for summer, on account of the abundance of fresh sweet corn, but I’ll definitely be making it all year round with frozen sweet corn. That cozy taste and aroma of bourbon and maple syrup (and bacon for that matter) sounds incredibly cozy on a crisp, fall day. But for now, viva summer!