Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale

The combination of ham and kale is traditional for a reason: it's so unbelievably good. But this satisfying casserole is easy to adapt to other greens and meat pairings, depending on what you have on hand: Try cooked sausage with frozen spinach or Andouille with frozen mustard greens.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Creamed corn:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Two 16-ounce bags frozen corn, thawed

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 pound thick-sliced deli ham, diced

5 ounces frozen kale (about 1 3/4 cups)

Cornbread topping:

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded sharp yellow Cheddar

Hot sauce, for serving

Directions

Special equipment:
a 2-quart oval baking dish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart oval baking dish.
  2. For the creamed corn: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cream, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces in volume and bubbles rapidly, about 15 minutes. Transfer 2 cups of the corn mixture to a food processor, puree until smooth, then stir it back into the skillet. Fold in the ham and kale. Transfer the creamed corn to the prepared baking dish; set aside. Clean the food processor bowl.
  3. For the cornbread topping: Pulse the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a food processor to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the cream and 1/2 cup of the Cheddar, and pulse until the batter just comes together.
  4. To assemble: Sprinkle the cornmeal batter over the creamed corn. (Don't worry if the corn isn't completely covered; the batter will puff and spread as it bakes.) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar. Place the casserole on a baking sheet, and bake until the corn is bubbling and the crust is puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve with hot sauce.