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A Cheesy Way to Pump Up Your Spoonbread

Frank Guerriero

August 15, 2018

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Photo and Food Styling: Judy Kim

Jennifer Hill Booker knows a thing or two about soul food. As a chef, culinary instructor, and cookbook author, the JBF Chefs Boot Camp alum is driven to highlight the rich history of this cherished cuisine, especially “who cooked it, who’s currently cooking it, and all of the stereotypes in between.” Inspired by that mission, Booker recently organized the Cast Iron Chronicles, a collaborative dinner series which finished its run with a stop at the Beard House, where she served up this delectable pimento cheese spoonbread.

Spoonbread is one of the essential dishes that help to form the foundation of American cuisine. Originated by Native Americans and later adopted by black slaves, this beloved mainstay is all about turning a few humble pantry staples into something worth celebrating. It’s a classic for a reason, and serves as a versatile base for delicious experimentation.

Booker starts by tossing a hefty portion of extra-sharp cheddar and some diced pimentos into a thick cornmeal batter. Then, she folds in softly whipped egg whites to aerate the dough and achieve a supple, soufflé-like consistency. Topped with even more cheese and baked to golden-brown perfection, this scrumptious starch is the perfect addition to your summertime soul food soirée. Get the recipe.

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Frank Guerriero is the media intern at the Beard Foundation. Find him on Instagram.