Do you ever have one of those recipes in your head you’ve heard about and that sounded droolingly delicious, but you’d never even tasted it before? Such is the case with yours truly and Spoonbread. Just the sound of the name made me think of something creamy and most likely irresistible. Spoonbread is a classic dish in the South and is usually made by cooking some cornmeal and milk on the stove top, then adding some eggs and maybe some cheese and baking it into a soft, creamy side dish. I started upon my quest by looking at several recipes, made my own tweaks and came up with this one. It’s my own spin on this Southern classic, with some amped up flavor from the Poblano Chilis and Corn. I also snuck in plenty of jack cheddar cheese to ensure the gooey factor in the equation. And since there are still good tomatoes to be found, stirred together this quick fresh salsa with some jalapeno, lime, and cilantro to top things off. Bake your Spoonbread until it’s just set and prepare yourself…. this one will knock your socks off.
This recipe is so easy to make, and most of the prep takes place in a saucepan. First, just toss some cornmeal and milk into the pan, and simmer until the milk is absorbed. Once that’s cooled for a few minutes, stir in the diced chilies and corn. Then comes the cheese. I’m using Monterey Jack for the gooey factor, and cheddar for color and cheesy flavor, but choose whatever you like. I’m a real sissy when it comes to spicy food, but Pepper Jack would be good here for those of you who aren’t. Whisk up a few eggs, stir them in and pop him in the oven. That’s pretty much all there is to it. The one trick of this whole recipe is not to over bake it. This I learned the hard way, so start looking at your creation at about the 30 minute mark. If you lightly touch the middle, it should feel just set, so yank it out of the oven at this point. The first time I made this, I overbooked it and lost the gooey, cheesy factor which was very sad.
One more thing…let’s talk about those Poblano chilis for a second… Usually poblano chilis are charred, the skins removed, then seeded and chopped. Me, being the laziest cook you know, skipped all that. I just seeded the chilis, then diced them. The pieces are small enough so you wouldn’t notice any tough outer pepper skin, so no sweat. Just a note though: Poblano chilis aren’t really hot, so I didn’t bother to use gloves or wash my hands after chopping them and then rubbed my eyes…um…. REALLY BAD IDEA. I’ll leave it at that but it’s a good reminder to always wear gloves when handling chilis or be sure to wash your hands well right after. My hands were burning for two days from those wimpy little peppers. Sheesh. I required a major dope slap for that one.
You can make this in an 8×8 inch baking dish, or get fancy and scoop it into single ramekins. To add a little more spice, it’s easy to toss together a quick fresh tomato salsa.
Cheesy, rich, satisfying, and just a little spice. My kind of supper. Hope you enjoy!
Thanks so much for reading today. I appreciate each and every one of you!! xoxoxo
- FOR THE SPOONBREAD
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 3 cups milk (I used 2% but probably any type would work just fine)
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 eggs
- Approximately 4-5 Poblano Chilis (You’ll want to end up with about 1 ½ cups diced chilis)
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 ½ cup corn kernels (Use either fresh or frozen corn)
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
- FOR THE SALSA
- Note: This is one of those ‘grab what you have handy and make it your own’ salsas, so the amounts of the ingredients are totally up to you – I’ll just share what I did and you can take it from there.
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 3 sliced green onions, or the equivalent diced yellow or white onion
- ½ diced jalapeno pepper (Note: I am a big sissy when it comes to spicy food, so go on ahead and use more if you want to)
- 1-2 tablespoons diced fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- FOR THE SPOONBREAD
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large saucepan, combine the cornmeal, milk and salt. Cook over medium heat until the milk is absorbed into the cornmeal. You’ll be able to tell because the mixture will thicken and turn from white to yellow, and you won’t see any milk floating around.
- Stir in the butter and mix until blended.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature or just barely warm.
- While you’re waiting on all that, why not get started on your chilis? Usually poblano chilis are charred, the skins removed, then seeded and chopped. Me, being the laziest cook you know, skipped all that. I just seeded the chilis, then diced them. The pieces are small enough so you wouldn’t notice any tough outer pepper skin, so no sweat. Just a note though: Poblano chilis aren’t really hot, so I didn’t bother to use gloves or wash my hands after chopping them and then rubbed my eyes…um…. REALLY BAD IDEA. I’ll leave it at that but it’s a good reminder to always wear gloves when handling chilis or be sure to wash your hands well right after. My hands were burning for two days from those wimpy little peppers. Sheesh. I required a major dope slap for that one.
- Sauté the diced chilis in some neutral oil and add a little salt. Sauté until the chilis are softened, which will take about five minutes. Remove from the skillet and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Reheat the same skillet and sauté the green onion until softened. Add the corn and cook for a minute or two, until cooked through.
- Now let’s get back to our cooled cornmeal…
- Grab your pan with the cornmeal mixture in and stir in 1 cup of the diced poblano chilis (you should have some left over for sprinkling on the top of the dish, so if you don’t either hold some back or no big deal).
- Stir in 1 cup of the corn and green onion mixture, reserving another ½ cup for sprinkling on top.
- Stir in the cheeses until well combined.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs until well mixed and frothy (you want to beat some air into them to help lift up the dish).
- Stir the eggs into the cornmeal mixture, then spoon into a well buttered 8x8 inch baking dish. NOTE: Your dish should be about 3 inches deep just to be on the safe side. The Spoonbread will not rise up over the top, so if you are within about ½ inch of the top of the baking dish you should be fine.
- Sprinkle the top of the Spoonbread with remaining ½ cup Cheddar cheese, the reserved Poblano chilis, and corn.
- Bake in a 350-degree oven until JUST SET. Start looking at about the 30-minute mark. If you can touch the center and your finger doesn’t sink in, it’s done. The first time I made this I overbaked it and missed out on all the creaminess this guy has to offer – so best to keep your eyes peeled.
- Remove from heat, let it sit for a few short minutes, and dive in. This is best eaten hot, right out of the oven. It also reheats like a dream if you can’t finish it all in one setting.
- FOR THE SALSA
- Dice the tomatoes into ¼ inch pieces.
- Combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and salt. Add lime juice and taste. Adjust seasonings to what suits you.