Corn spoon bread with bacon and jalapenos. Honestly - this was the tastiest thing I've eaten all month and I've added a tasty substitution for those that don't eat pork.
The ingredients might take 10 minutes or so to assemble, but stove top cooking is just minutes, with a bake time of about half an hour. Everyone who had a plate (OK, two plates) agreed it was worth a little extra fuss. And it's gluten free, using a corn meal that's prepared in a gluten free facility.
- A handful of chopped sweet onion
- 4-5 slices of thick cut bacon (or sauteed tempeh - see note below)
- 2 cups milk (not skim) to which you've added 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and two pinches ancho chili powder (or cayenne)
- 1 cup stone ground corn meal (I get mine from a local historical grist mill)
- 4 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup milk (yes, in a separate bowl from the 2 cups above) to which you've added a pinch of sugar
- 3 large eggs separated (whites in one larger bowl, whisk the yolks into the one cup of milk above)
- 1 cup cheese (I used half pepper jack, half cheddar) grated
- 1 cup fresh or thawed corn and 1 large jalapeno (chopped with all but a few seeds removed, or all if you want it really mild)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Fry bacon until cooked, but still tender, remove and chop.
Vegetarian version: Sauté finely crumbled tempeh in a fair amount of coconut oil until the tempeh is brown and starting to crisp. Remove from the heat and let cook slightly, then splash in a little soy sauce. There should be enough residual heat from the pan that the soy sauce starts to bubble up and is quickly absorbed by the tempeh. A pinch or two of smoked paprika, added after the soy has been absorbed, will bring some smoke flavor. You want about 1/3 cup worth.
Drain off all but a little bacon grease and soften onion in pan drippings until starting to turn golden, removed with slotted spoon.
In a saucepan, heat the 2 cups of the salt and peppered milk, whisking constantly over medium to medium high until at a low boil. Lower heat to medium low and slowly pour in 1 cup cornmeal, stirring constantly and cook for 2 minutes (it will be quite thick, and switching from whisk to wooden spoon helps when you pour in the corn)
Slowly add remaining milk/egg yolk mixture into cornmeal mixture in a thin stream, stirring constantly so the egg yolks don't cook.
Add corn, peppers, cheese, chopped bacon, and caramelized onion and set aside
Whip the bowl of egg whites with hand mixer until defined but not stiff peaks form. Drop a heaping spoonful of the whipped eggs into the corn batter and stir well, then gently fold remaining egg whites into the corn batter, a third at a time, just until combined.
Bake in greased large casserole pan for 26-32 minutes until puffed and golden brown (knife inserted into center should come out clean).
Serve with sour cream (if you wish) and chopped chives.