The Leggett family tree goes back to pre-Constitution days. Later on, sometime in the mid-1800’s, my Great Grandpa bought some land in Central Illinois and became a farmer. Leggetts are still there, growing and eating a lot of really great corn.
Many generation spanning family recipes are intuitive and this is no exception. This means there are no exact measurements for the milk and crackers for the modern version of this Thanksgiving tradition, just a description of the desired texture – a thick pudding. Additional salt beyond that which is on the crackers is not required unless you ordinarily salt all of your food.
The following is a modern Leggett variation of the recipe and includes canned corn. The original began “send a young ‘un out to the field to pick several ears of sweet corn…..”
2 large cans of Green Giant creamed corn
1 small can of Green Giant Niblets extra sweet corn
A lot of Premium Saltine Crackers (an entire tube or more), all crumbled up by hand
Milk – NOT skim, 2% is ok, but whole is more traditional
Pepper to taste, about 1/8 t more or less
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Lightly butter a 2 quart casserole dish.
Pour the creamed corn and drained regular corn into a bowl. Stir in crumbled crackers until the mixture is thick.
Tip in a bit of milk, just enough for the crackers to soak in.
Add more crackers and more milk once or twice more, until the mixture resembles a thickened pudding of corn.
Stir in some pepper once you’ve got a nice texture. If it looks thin, add more crackers.
Pour into the casserole and top with a nice layer of crumbled crackers.
If you are celebrating a major holiday, such as Thanksgiving, sprinkle paprika over crackers. All Leggetts know that paprika is for special occasions.
Bake, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, or until the whole is a bit bubbly and the crackers begin to brown a bit.
Do not over bake as it will become dry very quickly. Pull it out of the oven when crackers are just slightly browned.
If it finishes too soon and needs to stay hot while you get the rest of the meal finished, keep the lid on the casserole.
Serve at any gathering of family and friends… and let me know what time to be there!