They say necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case it is. I was browsing my copy of The Bread Bible yesterday, when I came across a recipe for Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread, and it looked good. So good, in fact, that I immediately wanted to make it for brunch this morning. However, after looking in the pantry I saw that I didn’t have all the ingredients called for. Undaunted, I found suitable substitutes in suitable quantities, changed the instructions to accommodate the different ingredients, forged ahead and made it my own.
The results were so good that I may never make the recipe the way it was originally written. Beloved, going back for thirds, summed it all up: “Dear, this one’s a keeper.”
So, I give you this week’s Sunday brunch recipe, which would be a grand side dish for ham or grilled chicken to boot.
Note: the original recipe says you can substitute the chipotle pepper in adobo with a seeded, minced jalapeño. I suppose you can, but it will be missing the lovely smoky flavor the chipotle imparts to the dish.
Southwestern Spoon Bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
chipotle pepper in adobo
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 scant teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can creamed corn
2 tablespoons half and half
1 large egg, separated
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Butter a 4- to 6-cup ceramic casserole or soufflé dish well; position the highest rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 F.
Split the chipotle pepper and remove the seeds. Chop it finely and add enough of the adobo sauce to make 1 tablespoon.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is soft and nearly translucent. Add the garlic, roasted red bell pepper and coriander and sauté for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, stir in the chipotle and adobo, set aside and let cool.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg white until frothy; add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff, but not dry . Set aside.
In another small bowl, beat the egg yolk lightly with the half and half; stir in the creamed corn.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Gently stir the egg/corn mixture and the onion/pepper mixture into the dry ingredients just until it is evenly moistened. Fold in all but 1/2 cup of the cheese, then fold in the egg white just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top is puffed and golden brown and a knife or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
You’re supposed to serve this immediately, but it seemed to suffer no ill effects from sitting in the oven with the door slightly ajar for a few moments while I finished the eggs and omelets.
Yummy goodness on a plate
All that was left after we decimated it. It’s THAT good, and I WILL make it again (and again and again).