I made spoonbread one chilly evening, and after it had accompanied our family dinner, I transformed the leftovers and made a mass of interesting croutons to top a light, flavorful chili. My husband occasionally and wistfully mentions the spoon bread his mother made while he was growing up, and has consulted old cookbooks for recipes in the past. When I came across this recipe, I was excited to make it for my husband and to be able to use it again in another meal.
1 pound chorizo
4 cups milk
1 3/4 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
6 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ounces pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup corn kernels
Heat oven to 350F. Coat a 9-by-13 baking dish with oil.
In a large skillet, cook chorizo for 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned, breaking it into crumbles. Drain.
In a large heavy pot, heat the milk until steaming and bubbles begin to form around edges of pot. Do not boil. Gradually add the polenta, whisking or stirring constantly and cook over medium heat until mixture is thick, about 2 minutes.
Add the butter and salt and stir until butter is melted.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and baking powder. Gradually add the egg yolk mixture to the polenta mixture. Stir in the sausage, cheese, green onions and corn.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into polenta mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned.
Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, October 2014
SMOKY BLACK BEAN CHILI WITH SPOONBREAD CROUTONS
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup corn kernels
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon oregano
2 cans (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed
1 can (14-ounces) chicken stock
6 ounces spoonbread or corn bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Heat oven to 450F. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and the bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, tomatoes, the ancho chile powder and the oregano. Cook the chili, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the beans, stock and 1 cup water, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid reduces slightly and the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of the chili to a blender, puree and return the mixture to the pot. Season.
On a rimmed baking sheet, season the corn bread cubes and bake until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Divide the chili among bowls, garnish with the corn bread or spoonbread croutons and parsley.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, September 2014