Pimento Cheese Spoonbread
Your Resident Gourmet, Atlanta
Spoonbread is all about turning a few humble pantry staples into something worth celebrating. Chefs Boot Camp alum chef Jennifer Booker makes hers extra special by incorporating pimento cheese into the base.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup stone-ground white or yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 1/3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 8 ounces diced pimiento peppers, drained
- 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 green onions, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish with the softened butter and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the milk; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until very thick, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and using a rubber spatula, fold in 1 cup cheese and the pimiento peppers; stir until cheese is melted.
Place the separated egg yolks in a small bowl. Whisking quickly, add one egg yolk into the hot cornmeal mixture. After completely combined, whisk in second egg yolk: set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and baking powder, or beat on high speed with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the cornmeal mixture. Spoon the mixture into the buttered baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake until puffy and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven to cool. Garnish with the chopped green onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe photo and food styling by Judy Kim.