This light cheesy Cheddar Chive Spoon Bread is an update on classic Southern spoon bread. Old fashioned spoon bread begins with yellow cornmeal that’s cooked on the stovetop with milk until thickened. In this version, I add chive and onion cream cheese, eggs, fresh chives and a generous amount of sharp cheddar cheese to the cooked cornmeal to give it incredible flavor. After everything is mixed together it’s then baked in a cast iron skillet until puffed and golden. It has a luscious custard-like texture that’s a bit like a cross between grits and a cornbread souffle.
So what makes spoon bread special? I think hands down it’s the texture. When made in a classic way, it’s light and airy due to the eggs in the batter. Beaten eggs are the only leavening used in the spoon bread batter. It’s history dates back to the 1800’s when a recipe for spoon bread first showed up in print but, it’s believed to date as far back as the civil war. Regardless of it’s origin, there are many variations ranging from very simple to some cooks adding whole corn, bacon, hot peppers and beyond to the mix. Cornbread is so beloved here in the South that it paves the way for spoon bread to be a hot commodity to be savored.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal (Not self-rising)
- 1½ teaspoon plain salt or garlic salt
- 4 oz Chive & Onion cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup fresh chives, minced
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet or similar oven-safe baking dish.
- on the stovetop In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the milk, salt, and cornmeal. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 3-5 minutes, until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes
- Add 2-3 Tbsp warm cornmeal mixture to the eggs to temper. Stir well,.
- Stir the softener cream cheese into the remaining cornmeal mixture in the saucepan.
- Whisk the tempered eggs into the cornmeal. Mix until fully combined.
- Stir in the chives and 1½ cups cheese. Spoon into the baking dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Dot with butter.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The top and sides will be browned and the center will be just set.
- Remove from oven and serve.