Spoon bread seems to be in every magazine right now, and I figured it was about time I found out just what it is! Trolling online and through cookbooks, I found out just a couple of essentials. Firstly, it is made with cornmeal, secondly it has eggs in it, and thirdly, no self respecting American southerner would ever whip the egg whites, folding them into the batter.
I finally found an old James Beard recipe from 1965 in one of my books. I had seen pumpkin & sweet potato versions, so thought I could use up some leftover butternut squash. When cooking it, the fragrance of the spices reminded me of bread pudding, and likewise, when eating it, the texture was very similar. Savory with just a hint of sweetness, it’s definitely meant to be served as a side dish, much like a stuffing or dressing would be. It’s easy to imagine it sopping up gravy. This would be a welcome addition to the holiday feast for everybody, including anyone who is gluten intolerant.
Alongside the original Beard recipe, it was written that slices of it are to be enjoyed the following day for breakfast, after being fried in butter, and drizzled with honey or maple syrup. I didn’t fry it, but I did take a slice, warmed it up in the microwave for a bit, and then did enjoy it with maple syrup. Amazingly good!
Click here for printable version.
12 oz. prepared butternut squash (peeled, and cubed)
2½ c milk (I used 1%)
1 t salt
½ T golden or coconut sugar
1 T chopped sage
1 T chopped chives
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t allspice
1 c cornmeal
3 oz of butter (6 T)
Preheat the oven to 400°
Cook the squash:
Line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment.
Arrange the squash cubes in the pan.
Cover with tin foil, and pierce it a few times with a sharp knife.
Bake the squash for 30 minutes, until fork tender.
Put the squash in a bowl, and mash until somewhat smooth. You’ll have about a cup of mashed squash.
*Reduce the oven temperature to 350°
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, salt, sugar, sage, chives, and spices.
Bring to a gentle boil.
Slowly add in the cornmeal, whisking continuously.
Continue cooking, while stirring frequently, over medium heat, for 4 – 5 minutes, until thick.
Add in the butter, and stir until completely melted and incorporated.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the eggs.
Add in the cooled butternut squash.
While the mixer is running, add in a few spoonfuls of the cooked cornmeal to the egg & squash mixture.
Once the mixture has been tempered, you can add in the remainder of the cooked cornmeal in about three additions.
Continue beating until smooth.
Grease a 2 – 3 quart baking dish.
Spoon the batter into the dish, smoothing it with the back of the spoon.
Bake in the center of the 350° oven, for 40 minutes
Note: if your dish is on the smaller side, the batter will be deeper, and may require an extra 5 minutes or so baking time. Test with a skewer to check for doneness.
Serve warm from the oven.
Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. The next day, slice the leftovers, and reheat either by lightly frying in butter, or in the microwave. Serve with maple syrup.