Chili Cheese Spoon Bread

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Chili Cheese Spoon Bread
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Prep Time 15min Cook Time 20min

As far as veggies go, fresh corn is not too hard a sell. But if you've got an abundance of it, and you're finally sick of corn on the cob (or your kids are currently too toothless to enjoy it), try baking up this puffy, cheesy, corn-studded casserole. It's delicious as a light main course, or as an accompaniment to any meat that might be coming off the grill.

What you'll need

  • 2 cups whole milk (or 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk mixed with 1/2 cup half and half)
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears) (frozen will work in a pinch, but do try to choose an organic brand)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers

How to make it

  1. Heat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk, cornmeal, corn kernels, butter, salt and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently.

  3. Simmer the mixture, stirring constantly, until quite thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then whisk in the egg yolks, cheese, and jalapenos.

  4. Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Whisk a quarter of the whites into the cornmeal mixture to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the whites gently but thoroughly.

  5. Spread the mixture in a greased deep-dish pie plate or shallow casserole and bake until puffed and golden, 15-20 minutes.

  6. Serve immediately as it will, like a soufflé, collapse quickly.

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