Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spoon Bread

Ryan and I published our first recipe in 1995 in the Hidden Oak Elementary School "Look Whoo's Cooking" PTA cookbook. Hidden Oak's mascot, as you have probably guessed, was an owl. The recipe was an old family favorite given to me by a very gracious Southern lady. It is equally at home on the table with a holiday meal or with a weeknight dinner. It is not upscale, gourmet, or nouveau. It is, however, irresistibly good.

Spoonbread is an old Southern classic found in a variety of shapes and forms. For those of you not familiar with Southern traditions, think Paula Deen, Charleston, and Gone with the Wind. Unpretentious, warm, welcoming, Southern food represents some of the very best of American cuisine. It is designed to make diners feel satisfied, and it allows plenty of room for the cook to be creative.

Feel free to substitute fresh Silver Queen corn from the cob for the canned variety when you can get it. I have also used my friend Billy's corn meal in place of the muffin mix. My intrepid husband requests the addition of peppers to keep his bandmates happy. Don't be afraid to try some substitutions when baking.

1 egg, beaten
*8 oz sour cream (I like Daisy because it has no artificial ingredients)
10 oz grated Cheddar cheese, divided (do yourself a favor and get the good stuff)
1 14 oz can corn, drained, or 14 oz Silver Queen corn cut from cob
1 14 oz can creamed corn
*8 oz ricotta cheese (lowfat OK)
*2 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tsp olive oil
1 box Martha White, Jiffy or similar corn muffin mix

*Recent events have encouraged me to review this recipe and reduce its total fat content at least a little.  I reduced the sour cream from 12 oz to 8 oz, and reduced the cheddar cheese to 10 oz. Butter has been cut by half. Lowfat (2%) ricotta was substituted for the previous full-fat cheese, and I have cut the number of eggs in half. We made the revamped recipe tonight, and we like it just as well...perhaps even a tiny bit better. Don't get us wrong...this is still a rich, indulgent dish. Enjoy it in small quantities.

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients except for about 3 ounces of cheddar cheese in an 8x8 baking dish. Bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top for the last 10 minutes.

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