Recipe video by Vic Chin
Down-home southern spoonbread is a kind of cornbread soufflé pudding-like dish that is served either on its own or as a side dish. It’s great piled into a bowl with butter melting all over it (and sometimes maple syrup), and equally delicious alongside roasted meats and poultry.
The most classic version is simply cornmeal mixed with milk, salt, egg yolks, and beaten egg whites. But loads of embellished variations exist, from adding corn kernels and cheese, to spicing it up with jalapenos, to folding in sautéed bell peppers and onions.
I took this version to the Thanksgiving table because I’m always looking for fun new ways to make sweet potatoes, and because, being from the south, I’m partial to classic southern cuisine. Made with a baked, orange-fleshed sweet potato and roasted poblano peppers (often mislabeled pasilla peppers at the grocery store), this slightly spicy, just-a-bit-sweet, earthy version makes a great companion to roast turkey. And if you are looking for a southern-inspired Thanksgiving, try it with braised collard greens and smoked turkey!
Recipe: Sweet Potato Spoonbread with Roasted Poblanos
Makes about 8 servings
- 2 poblano peppers (about 1/2 lb)
- 1 sweet potato (about 1 lb), scrubbed and pierced a few times with a knife
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup fine cornmeal
- 4 large eggs, separated
- Position the oven rack about 6 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. On a small broiler-proof baking sheet, broil the poblanos, turning regularly, until blackened all over. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the stem, skin, and seeds, then finely dice the poblano.
- Meanwhile, re-position the oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F. Place the sweet potato on a small baking sheet and bake until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes (timing depends on the age of the sweet potato so keep checking it after about 30 minutes). Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel. Add the flesh to a food processor and process to a smooth puree. You should have about 1 1/4 cups puree.
- Increase the heat to 400F. Generously butter a 2-quart Dutch oven. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, half and half, butter, sugar, and salt until the butter is melted and the mixture is steaming. Slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Drizzle the egg yolks over the warm cornmeal mixture, stirring quickly and constantly with a rubber spatula. Stir in the sweet potato puree and poblanos.
- In mixing bowl using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to medium-stiff peaks. Dollop about 1/3 of the egg whites into the cornmeal mixture and fold to combine. Add the remaining whipped egg whites and gently fold to combine.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared Dutch oven. Bake until golden and puffed, 35 to 45 minutes (do not open the oven for the first 30 minutes). Serve at once.