Corn Spoonbread with Cheddar and Bacon

Breakfast, Recipes

 

A cross between a souffle and cornbread, spoonbread is one of the glories of Southern cuisine. Our version combines a handful of breakfast favorites into one dish: the eggy cornmeal pudding is enhanced with crumbles of bacon, a sprinkling of sharp Cheddar, and kernels of fresh corn. You’ll get some in every delicious spoonful.

 

 

Corn Spoonbread with Cheddar and Bacon

 

3 thick slices applewood smoked bacon, coarsely chopped

3 cups whole milk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3 large eggs, separated

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels

2 green onions, white and pale green parts, finely chopped

Chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large frying pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard the fat in the pan.

 

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups of the milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper to a boil, being careful that the milk does not boil over. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking frequently, until the cornmeal is quite thick, about 2 minutes.

 

Remove from the heat. Add the butter and whisk until melted. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and the egg yolks and whisk into the cornmeal mixture. Stir in the cheese, corn and green onions. Set aside.

 

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with a handheld mixture on high speed until soft peaks form. Stir about one-fourth of the whites into the cornmeal mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites. Butter a 2-quart baking dish or six 1 1/2-cup individual baking dishes. Spread the cornmeal mixture evenly in the prepared dish(es).

 

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes for the large spoonbread and 15-20 minutes for the individual spoonbreads. Garnish with chives, if using, and serve at once. Serves 6.

 

Variation: Spice it up by substituting pepper jack for the Cheddar. Or, add 1 or 2 roasted, peeled and chopped poblano chiles to the mixture before folding in the egg whites.

 

 

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