The dish is believed to be of Native American origin. It was commonly called Awendaw or Owendaw. The first print recipe for spoon bread appeared in a cookbook by Sarah Rutledge in 1847. Spoon breads became popular around the turn of the 20th century, as cornmeal replaced yeast in Southern cooking. Since 1997, Bera, Kentucky, has been home to an annual Spoon bread Festival held in September.
Cook's notes: I thought the Downton Abbey finale deserved a fancy meal. After all I had saved my best bottle of wine to mark the occasion. The meal was great but it was too bad I weeped through most of the meal while watching this global phenomenon saying good-bye to my English friends.
This recipe is part souffle, part cornbread and part pudding. It's light, creamy and rather addictive.
The recipe was adapted from cuisineathome.com and serves 6.
Spoon Bread with Ham and Cheese
- 4 cups 2% milk
- 1 TB. Dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 TB. butter
- 1 cup diced ham,cooked
- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 tsp. dried chives
- 1/3 cup scallions
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 cups shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 2-1/2-3 qt. baking dish. In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups milk, mustard and cayenne pepper over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, salt and remaining milk whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk cornmeal mixture into hot milk. Cook and stir until mixture thickens whisking constantly 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Sprinkle baking powder over the cornmeal mixture, then stir in butter, adding in ham pieces, spices and scallions. Cool 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks; whisk into hot cornmeal mixture, adding in 1-1/2 cups cheese. Mix well.
- In a small bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Fold egg white mixture into cornmeal mixture in 3 batches.
- Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve immediately.