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Sour Cream and Chive Spoon Bread

Sour Cream and Chive Spoon Bread
A question has vexed Southerners for generations: "Is spoon bread a bread or a side dish?" Let's just say it is a winning combination of both. Spoon bread resembles a grits casserole, but it has a lighter, softer, more custardy texture and is made with cornmeal. It is delicious served alongside country ham or fried chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 1 1/2-qt. soufflé dish.

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the milk, water, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the mixture returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sour cream.

In a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs on high speed until thick and pale lemon yellow, about 5 minutes. Gradually stir about one-fourth of the hot cornmeal mixture into the beaten eggs, then fold the eggs into the remaining cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly. Fold in the cheese and chives. Pour into the prepared soufflé dish.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New American Cooking Series, The South, by Roy Overton (Time-Life Books, 2000).